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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Office of Real Estate Services Newsletter

Volume 4, Number 3

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Message from the Director

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As the Director of the Office of Real Estate Services (HEPR), I would like to announce several recent staffing changes.The movement of staff between different areas of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides a healthy influx of new ideas and fresh perspectives.As staff members shift from one program area to another, from region to region, or between Headquarters and the Division Offices, they gain a more balanced perspective of the organization's overall mission and function.Please join me in congratulating the following individuals.

Charlie O'Neill has joined HEPR as Team Leader for the Program Implementation Team. In this position, he will manage the points of contact (POCs) for the Division offices. A graduate of Florida State University, Charlie has worked at local, State and Federal government levels throughout his career, including time spent in the right-of-way (ROW) offices at the Florida DOT and the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska.At FHWA he has worked in the Illinois, West Virginia, Michigan, and Tennessee Division Offices.

Charlie envisions that the POCs at Headquarters will work collaboratively to support the Divisions.As before, there will be one official POC and one backup for each region.However, POCs will assist one another in providing the necessary support. Charlie plans to visit as many of the Division offices as possible to determine what assistance is needed in order to better support State and local agencies.Charlie also envisions that the POCs from Headquarters will meet with all of their State contacts on a rotating basis.

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Mary Jane Daluge moved from the Outdoor Advertising Control (OAC) Program to the national Point of Contact for the Relocation Assistance Program Area.Mary Jane has been with HEPR since 2008.Previously she held positions in Realty and Civil Rights in the FHWA California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Florida Divisions and the Resource Center.

Cathy O'Hara retired from FHWA and the OAC Program on March 31 and is back in Kansas. Marshall Wainwright left the Relocation Assistance Program Area to begin a new position as a Realty Specialist at the Resource Center. Virginia Tsu, who served as a Realty Specialist, has accepted a position as the Assistant Division Administrator in the South Dakota Division, effective May 6.

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Clifford Pearson is excited to return to the DC area as a Realty Specialist in the OAC Program. In 2008, after graduating from the Howard University School of Business, Clifford entered into FHWA's Professional Development Program as a

Realty Specialist.Though assigned to the New York Division, Clifford was able to take part in several program and process reviews that covered many of the Northeastern states.More recently, Clifford participated in several Federal process reviews in the area of outdoor advertising.

- Nelson Castellanos, Director, Office of Real Estate Services,

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News from FHWA Headquarters

FHWA's 2012 Excellence in Right-of-Way Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 Excellence in Right-of-Way Awards and to all who were nominated for these awards. This biennial awards program was developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to honor those who excel in improving the real property acquisition process while ensuring that property owner and tenant rights are protected. These awards recognize outstanding innovations that enhance the right-of-way professional's ability to meet the challenges associated with acquiring real property for a Federal-aid project.

This year, FHWA received many impressive entries describing exceptional right-of-way programs, projects, and leaders from around the country. The five award categories include: Innovation, Leadership, Stewardship, Streamlining and Integration, and Technical Specialties. The winners demonstrated successful methods to effectively acquire property and manage right-of-way for Federal-aid projects. The 2012 award recipients were honored during the annual meeting of the FHWA and American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Right-of-Way and Utilities, which was held in Portland, Oregon on April 29th, 2012.

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Peer of the Year: Edward Rush

Florida Department of Transportation

Office of Right-of-Way

This Peer of the Year Award recognizes Mr. Rush's distinguished and influential career in the real estate field and in his current position as the Manager of Appraisal and Appraisal Review for FDOT.Mr. Rush has been recognized for his proactive leadership of FDOT's statewide appraisal and appraisal review programs.Mr. Rush energetically takes on opportunities to improve and enhance the program, has a mentoring and coaching management style that encourages program growth and excellence and sets a high level of performance expectations for the appraisal and appraisal review programs.

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Innovation Award: Minnesota DOT (MnDOT)

Office of Land Management

This Innovation Award recognizes Kevin Leonard and Roy Blanke of MnDOT's Office of Land Management for their geo-spatial enablement of MnDOT's Right-of-Way Electronic Land Management System (REALMS), creating a work environment that brings intelligent mapping to the fingertips of right-of-way practitioners. The system provides valuable right-of-way information to scoping, planning, and design personnel, giving them more accurate information earlier during the project development, and allowing for better and more cost effective decision making.

Contributors: Jim Magoon, Blaine McKeever, Karen Scott and Gabriella Tsurutani, Karen Scott and Gabriella Tsurutani of MnDOT; Peter Girad and Andy Buck of Applied Geographics; Brian Bjelland of ProWest & Associates, Inc.; and Terese Rowekamp of Rowekamp & Associates

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Right-of-Way and Utilities Division

This Leadership Award recognizes Richard Bennett and the Right-of-Way and Utilities Division employees' regionalization and reorganization of their division in the face of significant staff reduction statewide. Their numerous innovative solutions allowed staff to continue to meet project schedules and increase their flexibility in response to unanticipated needs and critical situations.


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Right-of-Way Division

This Stewardship Award recognizes employees of UDOT, HDR, and Parsons Brinckerhoff for their role in developing property acquisition techniques on the Mountain View Corridor freeway development project. They are being recognized for creating acquisition teams to focus on property owner's needs, in a declining market with properties facing short sales and/or foreclosures.Additionally, the Division worked with lending institutions to protect owners' financial status and adopted web-based tracking systems to streamline the acquisition process, reduce condemnations and promote the corridor preservation program.

Contributors: Ryan Woehl, Carol Bellinger, Wendy Hansen, Jeremy Christensen, Tammy Evans, Greg Martin, Dian McGuire, Wayne Larsen, Jill Cates, Jesse Barton, Lisa Fazzini, Ed Rock, and John Barnhill.

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Outdoor Advertising Program

This Streamlining and Integration Award recognizes MDOT's Outdoor Advertising Program and the individuals that assisted with the development of an in-house computer program designed to streamline the outdoor advertising control permit process and create an efficient, well managed inventory. The system not only manages sign inventories, but allows easy access to sign owners requesting permits to check sign status and/or request a vegetation removal permit via the agency website. Overall, the program reduces delays, enhances coordination between Right-of-Way Division and State Districts, and allows the public to access the information.

Contributors: Celina Sumrall, David Brown, Doug Hornback, Donald Campbell, and Kaamilya Young.

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Right-of-Way Bureau, Office of Outdoor Advertising

This Technical Specialty Award recognizes Edward Farley, Sue Welliver and Thomas Gray for the design and implementation of an inclusive database system that allows access to license and permit information by both staff and the public. This project contributes to the Right-of-Way Bureau's recent progress in promoting transparency in the OAC permitting process and field inspections, and in clarifying jurisdictional and enforcement issues.

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Judges Award: Georgia DOT (GDOT)

Right-of-Way Office

The judges have recognized Barry Baynes and Wesley Brock of GDOT's Office of Right-of-Way for their innovative development of a new Right-of-Way and Utility Relocation Cost Estimate Tool (RUCEST) for the planning stage of right-of-way and a new detail cost estimate program. These tools have contributed to a measurable improvement in the accuracy of right-of-way costs, which in turn has improved GDOT's ability to deliver projects on time, decreased delays in obtaining right-of-way funding, and eliminated surprise shortfalls at the end of the right-of-way process. Contributors: Howard Copeland.

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Tribal Partnership Award: Wisconsin DOT (WisDOT)

Northeast Region Technical Services Section and Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin

This Tribal Partnership Award recognizes how the WisDOT Northeast Region and the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin have fostered a unique, proactive and collaborative working relationship to improve communications, harmonize decision making processes and reduce overall time needed to acquire right-of-way. The establishment of separate tribal consultation meetings and outreach efforts regarding right-of-way policies and procedures have successfully contributed to an increase of information and feedback exchange between the two groups.

Contributors: Kathy Curren, Curt Van Erem, Alice Meurer, Norman Pawelczyk, Dan Segerstrom, and Derek Weyer of WisDOT. Mary Jo Nash, Diane Wilson, Sheila Huff, Carla Clark, and Sandra Wondra of the Oneida Tribe of Indians.


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Right-of-Way Group, Plans Section

The Current Initiative Award recognizes the Right-of-Way Group Plans Section's development and implementation of a website that allows both public and private access to existing right-of-way plans for the state highway system. This "On-Line Plans Resource" is an excellent demonstration of developing and implementing an innovative idea that contributes to the efficiency of the right-of-way process and shortens project delivery in support of the Every Day Counts initiative.

Contributors: Paula Gibson, Jessie Zavalza, Henri Verdugo, John Eckhardt, Carwin Gardner, and Ben Black.

Honorable Mention Awards:-Stewardship Award, California DOT (CALTRANS)

Division of Right-of-Way and Land Surveys

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The Stewardship Honorable Mention Award recognizes Karen Koklich and Steven Aragon of the Division of Right-of-Way and Lands Surveys for their incorporation of GIS technologies into the Permit to Enter process.By adding a graphical component to this process, project team members can better plan site visit studies, inform property owners of planned activities, streamline workflow and improve information access for district personnel.

Contributors: George Schuh and Mark Phelan.

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Honorable Mention-Technical Specialty Award: Arizona DOT (ADOT)

Right-of-Way Group Property Management Section

The Technical Specialty: Honorable Mention Award recognizes the ROW Group Property Management Section's development of a custom comprehensive and interactive demolition database that anyone at ADOT and other state and federal agencies can view.The database, created and customized internally, is linked to GPS and ArcGIS systems, contains the forms required in the demolition process, and can be linked to various other internal databases. The database increases the efficiency of the demolition process.

Contributors: Paula Gibson, Raul Torres, Brian Rockwell, Ben Black, Greg Rodriquez, and Harry DePrins.

For more information about FHWA's 2012 Excellence in Right-of-Way awards, contact Bruce Bradley at:

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News from the Northern Corner

State DOTs Use GIS to Identify ROW for Renewable Energy Facilities

In the summer of 2012, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty will initiate a research study to investigate the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) in assessing the potential for renewable energy generation in the highway right-of-way (ROW).This research will include a series of case studies from various States as well as a summary report.Once complete, it will serve as a resource for ROW, environmental, and utility practitioners at the Federal and State levels.

This effort follows the completion of a year-long study to investigate the implications of alternative energy technologies in the ROW.FHWA and the USDOT Volpe Center conducted that research through a series of phone interviews and a subsequent peer exchange with interviewees in March of 2011. For more information, including an article on this topic, please refer to the August 2011 edition of the Realty Newsletter at

Locating renewable energy facilities in the highway ROW may bring the following benefits: sustainability (fiscal, environmental, and social); improved utilization of available resources; and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. According to some of the State DOTs that participated in the March 2011 peer exchange, a statewide GIS analysis of natural resource availability (sun, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal) overlaid on planned transportation projects is one of the first steps for developing renewable energy in the highway ROW; it can serve as an initial screening mechanism and as a prioritization tool so that the State DOT can identify the most appropriate location(s) for further investigation.The availability of natural resources will help to determine which sites are likely to provide the highest return on investment. Data on planned transportation projects may help the State DOT tocoordinate renewable energy projects with other concurrent efforts; this might facilitate cost-effective approaches such as installing infrastructure during the scheduled reconstruction of a highway corridor.The upcoming FHWA research study will investigate these and other types of GIS analyses at State DOTs around the country in order to understand what each agency is doing, why they have chosen that approach, and what has resulted.

In the Northern Region, several States are exploring the feasibility of using GIS analyses to plan for renewable energy development in the ROW. The Ohio and Massachusetts DOTs have both begun preliminary studies to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.To learn more about the use of GIS for ROW applications, please refer to the proceedings from past FHWA peer exchanges.The first GIS/ROW peer exchange occurred in August of 2007 ( and the second followed in July of 2008 ( from State DOTs and FHWA Division Offices participated in each exchange and shared ideas on the state of the practice.

Additionally, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has developed a resource entitled "NCHRP Report 695: Guide for Implementing a Geospatially Enabled Enterprise-wide Information Management System for Transportation Agency Real Estate Offices" ( term "enterprise-wide" refers to a system that allows a large number of users to manage, share, and use spatial data and related information through a central database, often via the Internet.

For more information, please visit or contact Mark Sarmiento of the FHWA Office of Planning at

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News from the Southern Corner

Sponsorship of Virginia's Rest Areas and Welcome Centers

In 2011, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) initiated the Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center Sponsorship, Advertising, and Vending Enhancement (SAVE) program to offset the cost of maintaining and operating Virginia's Safety Rest Areas and Welcome Centers.Through this program, VDOT contracted with a private firm to plan, implement, and manage a multimedia rights program including advertising, vending, and related goods and services for select rest areas and welcome centers.All products will be dispensed from vending machines, and no advertising at the rest areas and welcome centers will be visable from the main traveled way.The agreement allows for the use of sponsorship signs on the highway mainline to recognize a group or individual that finances a Safety Rest Area or a Welcome Center.VDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the interstate sign concept to ensure that it complies with regulations, namely 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F, and the associated "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" ( FHWA Virginia Division Office as well as the Offices of Chief Council, Infrastructure, Realty, Policy, and Operations have all been involved in this project.

VDOT's Safety Rest Areas and Welcome Centers form an integral component of Virginia's highway system. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) indicates that the presence of convenient, safe places to rest along the nation's highways reduces accidents and fatalities caused by driver fatigue and illegally stopped vehicles on highway shoulders by an estimated 3.7%. Safety Rest Areas and Welcome Centers also offer traveler information and provide economic benefits by increasing tourism. The sponsorship of rest areas will help to ensure that VDOT can operate and maintain these important resources in an economically sustainable manner.

VDOT will share revenues from the SAVE program with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) and the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), both of which played active roles in developing the SAVE program. DBVI previously managed vending at the Safety Rest Areas while VTC previously managed the advertising program at the Welcome Centers. VDOT will use the remaining revenues to support the Safety Rest Area program and offset the annual operating expenses of $21 million.

In March of 2012, FHWA issued a directive to describe the current policy on sponsorship acknowledgment within the public right-of-way ( According to this directive, FHWA allows the use of acknowledgement signs on the mainline of the freeway or expressway, provided that best practices are employed, including simplified message content and reasonable sign sizes. All signs must be consistent with the provisions regarding acknowledgement signs that are contained in Section 2H.08 of the 2009 edition of the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" ( recognizes a distinction between a sponsorship sign and an advertising sign; the latter bears no relationship to provided highway services and is not allowed in the highway right-of-way.

The FHWA Virginia Division Office recommends that if other States undertake similar sponsorship programs, the corresponding FHWA Division Offices work closely with the appropriate Headquarters Offices to understand which approvals the Division can make and which it ought to elevate to the Headquarters level.

For more information about the SAVE program, contact Martha Kapitanov, Highway Safety Engineer, at

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News from the Western Corner

Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid Released

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In March of 2012, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, released a report entitled "Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid.Practitioners, policymakers, regulators, and the general public will find information in this report regarding the challenges and opportunities for integrating plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) within the transportation system and the electrical grid.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) partnered with the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Center for Environmental Excellence (CEE) to fund the study along with other stakeholders. C2ES led the study and convened the PEV Dialogue Group to develop consensus approaches to accelerate PEV deployment nationwide. The PEV Dialogue Group included automakers, electric utilities, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations, environmental and consumer advocates, and others. The action plan represents the culmination of a year's work by the PEV Dialogue Group. To view the report, please visit:

A Case Study in Early PEV Implementation: West Coast Green Highway Program

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is implementing the nation's first"Electric Highway,” a basic network of public access electric vehicle (EV) recharging locations along Interstate 5. Ultimately, the public charging stations will enable EV drivers to travel the length of the state along the 276 miles of I-5 between Washington's borders with Oregon and Canada. The project was developed as part of the West Coast Green Highway, an initiative to promote the use of cleaner fuels along I-5 from British Columbia to Baja California. The project spreads across the entire 1,350 miles of I-5 connecting three states and three countries and serving the 2 million electric vehicles anticipated by 2020 on the west coast.

Title 23 United States Code 111 prohibits the construction of commercial establishments in the right-of-way (ROW) of the Interstate System.Although electric vehicle charging stations may be located in the ROW, Title 23 states that motorists cannot pay for this service. This Title 23 provision applies to all highways constructed after January 1, 1960, and therefore posed an initial obstacle to the West Coast Green Highway Program.

WSDOT initially applied for a waiver from this Title 23 provision under FHWA's SEP 15 program, which allows for the trial evaluation of new public-private partnership approaches to project delivery.After FHWA rejected the waiver, WSDOT reached out to the business community and agreed to partner with private businesses along the corridor.Through partnerships, WSDOT encouraged the installation of charging stations in private retail locations with easy access to the highway.These charging stations are privately owned, operated and hosted, through a public/private partnership.

WSDOT also installed two charging stations in the gateway rest areas at the northern border with Canada and at the southern border with Oregon.These charging stations do not conflict with the Title 23 provision because they do not collect fees from drivers, and because they provide a substantial public benefit as educational"demonstration stations." WSDOT chose not to install fast-charge stations, where drivers can recharge in 30 minutes or less, because those services are similar in function to service stations provided by private partners along the corridor.Instead, the rest area stations are "Level 2" chargers, meaning that it would require 4-8 hours to fully recharge an electric vehicle.This matches the state policy for maximum stay at a rest area (8 hours).The purpose of these chargers is to demonstrate the technology to the 1.25 million people who visit these two locations each year.Each station includes an interpretive kiosk that explains this new vehicle technology as well as the West Coast Electric Highway network.For those who need to recharge more rapidly, signs direct motorists to the nearest private stations.The electricity costs for the demonstration stations are paid by not-for-profit sponsors as a public service.

For more information on the Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, please contact Diane Turchetta of the FHWA Office of Natural Environment, at

Calendar of Events

For a listing of Planning, Environment, and Realty program meetings, events, and National Highway Institute training opportunities, please visit:

Updated: 10/20/2015
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