While there are specific actions that all Federal agencies can pursue, FHWA is uniquely positioned as the lead agency on URA implementation to provide information and guidance to stakeholders in order to address the challenges faced in complying with URA voluntary acquisition requirements. Based on discussions with the stakeholders, the following next steps and recommendations were suggested. While FHWA makes no commitment at this time as to the implementation of the recommendations, FHWA will carefully consider the action items presented.
FHWA, in coordination with the Federal agencies affected by the URA, could propose regulatory changes to address some of the challenges and issues agencies face in complying with voluntary acquisition requirements. A potential area for regulatory change identified by the project stakeholders includes creating exemptions for types of acquisitions that fall outside the scope of the URA.
Currently, much of the training regarding the URA, and real estate acquisition and relocation processes only briefly touches upon voluntary acquisitions. FHWA, in coordination with the Federal agencies affected by the URA, could develop training content on voluntary acquisitions that agencies could utilize to enhance their own internal training and educational materials. In addition, FHWA could work with the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) to develop courses tailored to voluntary acquisitions.
Following updates to the URA in 2005, FHWA published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to explain the statute and implementing regulations. FHWA could update its FAQ document to address some of the challenges that agencies face in implementing the voluntary acquisition requirements. Some specific issues that could be addressed through the FAQs are: