Title 23

SECTION 710.603

710.603 Direct Federal acquisition.

§ 710.603 Direct Federal acquisition.

(a) The provisions of this paragraph may be applied to any real property that is not owned by the United States and is needed in connection with a project for the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of any section of the Interstate System or for a Defense Access Road project under 23 U.S.C. 210, if the SDOT is unable to acquire the required ROW or is unable to obtain possession with sufficient promptness. If the landowner tenders a right-of-entry or other right of possession document required by State law any time before FHWA makes a determination that the SDOT is unable to acquire the ROW with sufficient promptness, the SDOT is legally obligated to accept such tender and FHWA may not proceed with Federal acquisition. To enable FHWA to make the necessary findings and to proceed with the acquisition of the ROW, the SDOT's written application for Federal acquisition must include the following:

(1) Justification for the Federal acquisition of the lands or interests in lands;

(2) The date FHWA authorized the SDOT to commence ROW acquisition, the date of the project agreement, and a statement that the agreement contains the provisions required by 23 U.S.C. 111;

(3) The necessity for acquisition of the particular lands under request;

(4) A statement of the specific interests in lands to be acquired, including the proposed treatment of control of access;

(5) The SDOT's intentions with respect to the acquisition, subordination, or exclusion of outstanding interests, such as minerals and utility easements, in connection with the proposed acquisition;

(6) A statement on compliance with the provisions of parts 771 and 774 of this chapter, as applicable;

(7) Adequate legal descriptions, plats, appraisals, and title data;

(8) An outline of the negotiations that have been conducted with landowners;

(9) An agreement that the SDOT will pay its pro rata share of costs incurred in the acquisition of, or the attempt to acquire, ROW; and

(10) A statement that assures compliance with the applicable provisions of the Uniform Act.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, direct Federal acquisitions from non-Federal owners for projects administered by the FHWA Office of Federal Lands Highway may be carried out in accordance with applicable Federal condemnation laws. The FHWA will proceed with such a direct Federal acquisition only when the public agency responsible for the road is unable to obtain the ROW necessary for the project. The public agency must make a written request to FHWA for the acquisition and, if the public agency is a Federal agency, the request shall include a commitment that any real property obtained will be under that agency's sole jurisdiction and control and FHWA will have no jurisdiction or control over the real property as a result of the acquisition. The FHWA may require the applicant to provide any information FHWA needs to make the required determinations or to carry out the acquisition.

(c) If the applicant for direct Federal acquisition obtains title to a parcel prior to the filing of the Declaration of Taking, it shall notify FHWA and immediately furnish the appropriate U.S. Attorney with a disclaimer together with a request that the action against the landowner be dismissed (ex parte) from the proceeding and the estimated just compensation deposited into the registry of the court for the affected parcel be withdrawn after the appropriate motions are approved by the court.

(d) When the United States obtains a court order granting possession of the real property, FHWA shall authorize the applicant for direct Federal acquisition to immediately take over supervision of the property. The authorization shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:

(1) The right to take possession of unoccupied properties;

(2) The right to give 90 days notice to owners to vacate occupied properties and the right to take possession of such properties when vacated;

(3) The right to permit continued occupancy of a property until it is required for construction and, in those instances where such occupancy is to be for a substantial period of time, the right to enter into rental agreements, as appropriate, to protect the public interest;

(4) The right to request assistance from the U.S. Attorney in obtaining physical possession where an owner declines to comply with the court order of possession;

(5) The right to clear improvements and other obstructions;

(6) Instructions that the U.S. Attorney be notified prior to actual clearing, so as to afford him an opportunity to view the lands and improvements, to obtain appropriate photographs, and to secure appraisals in connection with the preparation of the case for trial;

(7) The requirement for appropriate credits to the United States for any net salvage or net rentals obtained by the applicant for direct Federal acquisition, as in the case of ROW acquired by an SDOT for Federal-aid projects; and

(8) Instructions that the authority granted to the applicant for direct Federal acquisition is not intended to preclude the U.S. Attorney from taking action, before the applicant has made arrangements for removal, to reach a settlement with the former owner which would include provision for removal.

(e) If the Federal Government initiates condemnation proceedings against the owner of real property in a Federal court and the final judgment is that FHWA cannot acquire the real property by condemnation, or the proceeding is abandoned, the court is required by law to award such a sum to the owner of the real property that in the opinion of the court provides reimbursement for the owner's reasonable costs, disbursements, and expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees, actually incurred because of the condemnation proceedings.

(f) As soon as practicable after the date of payment of the purchase price or the date of deposit in court of funds to satisfy the award of the compensation in a Federal condemnation, FHWA shall reimburse the owner to the extent deemed fair and reasonable, the following costs:

(1) Recording fees, transfer taxes, and similar expenses incidental to conveying such real property to the United States;

(2) Penalty costs for prepayment of any preexisting recorded mortgage entered into in good faith encumbering such real property; and

(3) The pro rata portion of real property taxes paid which are allocable to a period subsequent to the date of vesting title in the United States or the effective date of possession, whichever is the earlier.

(g) The lands or interests in lands, acquired under this section, will be conveyed to the State or the appropriate political subdivision thereof, upon agreement by the SDOT, or said subdivision to:

(1) Maintain control of access where applicable;

(2) Accept title thereto;

(3) Maintain the project constructed thereon;

(4) Abide by any conditions which may set forth in the deed; and

(5) Notify the FHWA at the appropriate time that all the conditions have been performed.

(h) The deed from the United States to the State, or to the appropriate political subdivision thereof, or in the case of a Federal applicant for a direct Federal acquisition any document designating jurisdiction, shall include the conditions required by 49 CFR part 21 and shall not include any grant of jurisdiction to FHWA. The deed shall be recorded by the grantee in the appropriate land record office, and the FHWA shall be advised of the recording date.

[81 FR 57729, Aug. 23, 2016, as amended at 83 FR 21710, May 10, 2018]