Identification of strategies to lower Texas's condemnation rate
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Improving the system for how right-of-way (R/W) parcels are acquired for transportation projects in Texas can benefit the state. Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is allowed to obtain a property through negotiation or condemnation, meaning going through the court system. However, gaining parcels through condemnation not only increases project durations but also project budgets, which are both detrimental to public interests. These monetary and time concerns justify the need to develop strategies to streamline how TxDOT acquires R/W properties. This thesis aims to identify strategies that have the most significant positive impact on reducing a state’s condemnation rate, costs, and durations, while still being viable for the agency to implement. As states around the nation have already realized the benefit and made significant progress to reduce their condemnation rates, they act as models for Texas. Thus, extensive interviews with 25 representatives from transportation agencies around the nation and an extensive literature review are used to gather and evaluate applicable strategies. Similarly, applicable national and state laws and court cases have been reviewed to ensure the feasibility of the strategies.