Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs. Topic 23-01. Condemnation Hierarchy-Competing Public Uses

When land is already devoted to a public use, it can be difficult for State departments of transportation (DOTs) to acquire portions of this land for highway purposes. The preexisting public uses can range from use as a park, park protected by section 6(f) of the LAWCON Act, school, regulated pipeline, or drainage ditch, and a quasi-public use such as a railroad. In some cases the land is held by a local government and in other cases the land is held by a federal agency. Lands held by a public utility or common carrier often have protections granted by a state or federal regulatory agency such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), public utilities commissions (state and federal), and the Surface Transportation Board. Frequently, State DOTs must seek assistance from FHWA and other agencies to acquire land from federal agencies. State DOTs often lack the statutory authority to acquire these properties through the power of condemnation. Additionally, any acquisition may be subject to the approval of a third-party regulatory authority. The objective of this research is to document practices State DOTs use to acquire properties through the power of condemnation and to compensate the owners for the competing public use. The research should include, but not be limited to, appraisal and valuation methods for the acquisition of easements, temporary construction easements, and other interests from railroad companies.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $63500
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-06, Topic 23-01

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Thomas Law Firm

    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Thomas, Larry

  • Start Date: 20180309
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190309
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01648019
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-06, Topic 23-01
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 3 2017 3:03PM