Utility Principal Documents
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Broadband Infrastructure Deployment was published on August 13, 2020, in the Federal Register. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141), Division P, Title VII ("Mobile Now Act"), Section 607, Broadband Infrastructure Deployment (47 U.S.C. 1504), directs the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate regulations to ensure that States meet specific registration, notification, and coordination requirements to facilitate broadband infrastructure deployment in the ROW of applicable Federal-aid highway projects. Accordingly, FHWA proposes to revise its regulations governing the accommodation of utilities to implement the Section 607 requirements. The requirements, which will apply to each State that receives Federal funds under Chapter 1 of Title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.), aim to facilitate the installation of broadband infrastructure.
Comments will be accepted on the Federal Register docket through September 14, 2020.
Laws and Regulations
Utility facilities, unlike most other fixed objects that may be present within the highway environment, are not owned nor are their operations directly controlled by State or local highway agencies. Because of this, highway authorities have developed policies and practices which govern when and how utilities may use public highway right-of-way, and under what conditions public funds may be used to relocate utility facilities to accommodate highway construction. Federal laws and FHWA regulations contained in title 23 of the United States Code (cited 23 U.S.C.) and title 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations (cited 23 CFR), regulate the accommodation, relocation and reimbursement of utilities located within the highway rights of way.
Two sections of Federal highway law in title 23 of the United States Code (cited 23 U.S.C.) deal specifically with utilities:
- 23 USC 109(l) Standards (.pdf) (2011) addresses with the accommodation of utilities on the right-of-way of Federal-aid highways.
- 23 USC 123 Relocation of utility facilities (.pdf) (2011) addresses with reimbursement for the relocation of utility facilities necessitated by the construction of a project on any Federal-aid highway.
Three sections of Federal Highway regulations in title 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations (cited 23 CFR) deal specifically with utilities:
- Executive Order on Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment (06/14/2012)
- 23 CFR 635 Construction and Maintenance (.pdf) (11/15/2006) Subpart C addresses the coordination with the construction contract and project authorization.
- 23 CFR 645 Subpart A Utility Relocations, Adjustments, and Reimbursement (.pdf) (11/22/2000) addresses with utility relocations, adjustments, and reimbursement.
- 23 CFR 645 Subpart B Accommodation of Utilities (.pdf) (11/22/2000) addresses with the accommodation of utilities.
Policy and Guidance
- Guidance on Reimbursement for Tax Liability Incurred by a Utility for Relocation (09/05/2019)
- Utility Accommodation and Other Uses of Highway Right-of-Way (06/29/2017)
- Railroad Coordination on Federal-Aid Highway Projects (7/31/15)
- Application of Buy America to non FHWA-funded Utility Relocations (07/11/2013)
- Buy America Issues to Consider for Utility Contracts and Agreements (12/20/2012)
- Local Public Agency Stewardship Issues (02/13/2012)
- Longitudinal Utility Accommodation (03/27/2009)
- Proposed Utility Installations on the Mass. Turnpike ROW (05/13/2008)
- Federal Jurisdiction on the Massachusetts Turnpike (07/12/2004)
- Program Guide: Utility Relocation and Accommodation on Federal Aid highway Projects, Sixth Edition (2003)
- Background Guidance on Longitudinal Telecommunications Installations on Limited Access Highway Right-of-Way (12/20/2000)
- Utility Cost Sharing Proposals (23 CFR 645 Subpart A, Non-Regulatory Supplement #1) (09/08/1998)
- Use of Fixed Amount (Lump Sum) Payments to Utilities (23 CFR 645 Subpart A, Non-Regulatory Supplement) (10/05/1995)
- Highway Utility Guide (.pdf) (June, 1993)
- Applicability of Davis-Bacon Wage Rates to Utility Work (04/21/1986)
- Utility Relocation and Accommodation: A History of Federal Policy Under the Federal-Aid Highway Program, Part I: Utility Relocation (.pdf) (June, 1980)
- Utility Relocation and Accommodation: A History of Federal Policy Under the Federal-Aid Highway Program, Part II: Utility Accommodation (.pdf) (June, 1980)