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This Award recognizes the Real Estate Services Division of the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for their successful local agency program that provides assistance to local entities. The program manager for the Real Estate Services local agency program is Galen Wright.
Real Estate Services, through the Highways and Local Programs (H&LP) Division, is responsible for helping local agencies acquire right-of-way for federal-aid projects. The H&LP Division is specifically assigned the responsibility of working with local agencies in all phases of project development and construction. Approximately 51 percent of federal highway funds distributed in the state go to local agencies. WSDOT has approved 128 agencies for some level of right-of-way acquisition. This includes 37 of 39 counties, 85 cities and towns, five Indian tribes, transit agencies and a port authority. Ten agencies are approved to provide relocation with their own staff. There are also 35 current Agreements for Aid in place to allow the WSDOT to provide all or part of the real estate functions for local agencies.
Real Estate Services has been very active in updating and streamlining their acquisition processes and quickly informs local agencies of any legislative changes that affect the right-of-way process. The headquarters relocation staff has also developed forms and pamphlets local agencies can use to aid in the relocation process. Real Estate Services has a local agency coordinator in each of the six WSDOT regions and a program manager in Headquarters. The real estate local agency coordinators work closely with local agencies and provide training for local agencies. Training on the Uniform Act and related topics is given around the state. Coordinators also work with the program manager and FHWA to provide individual training to agencies as issues arise.
Local agency coordinators have annual meetings that include H&LP, FHWA, and WSDOT program specialists. This helps everyone keep abreast of current issues and find new ways to make the program more responsive and effective. FHWA and WSDOT have jointly performed process reviews of the local agency program in 2002 and 2003. The findings and recommendations have improved the strength of the program. These reviews identified the need to include right-of-way consultants in the training process. WSDOT now includes consultants in training and continues to find better ways to update and train local agencies. The reviews also identified a very high level of coordination and cooperation between the locals and WSDOT.
Through WSDOT's Local Public Agency (LPA) stewardship efforts, a strong state and local partnership has been formed. This partnership continues to grow and flourish. The WSDOT model of LPA stewardship demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that all property acquired with federal aid funds meets federal and state standards. Their model serves as an example of the power of partnership and proactive involvement.
Washington Department of Transportation | Kathleen Davis | Gerry Gallinger | Michael W. Horton | Galen Wright
An example of the power of partnership and proactive involvement
This Honorable Mention Award recognizes the Right-of-Way Section of the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) for the innovative assistance they provide to city and county airports in Wyoming.
In addition to the 6,800 miles of state and federal highways in Wyoming, 40 airports in Wyoming are publicly owned. The state has a new focus on improving commercial air services, and federal money has become available to improve airport facilities. The work associated with design, real estate acquisition and new construction often overwhelm the airport staff. The Aeronautics Division of the WYDOT recognized the challenges airports were facing and contacted the Right-of-Way Section for assistance. A process was quickly developed allowing a local agency to request WYDOT real estate assistance.
The Right-of-Way Section determined that the most efficient way to provide immediate help was by providing appraisal review service. The four certified appraisers in the Section took the extra time to review the airport appraisals in addition to their appraisal review work for highway projects. They developed a Right-of-Way Program brochure for the local airports. The Right-of-Way Section is working with the Aeronautics Division to develop procedural manuals for airport expansion projects. To date, WYDOT's right-of-way staff has assisted 14 airports to acquire more than 65 parcels with a total cost of $3.5 million.
Wyoming Department of Transportation | Craig Alexander | Rick McKee | Michael J. Miller | Michael V. Miller | William Phillips
Developed process to provide local agencies with real estate assistance