FHWA Order 5520 - Transportation System Preparedness and Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

FHWA Order 5520, Transportation System Preparedness and Resillience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather, was signed on December 15, 2014. The Order state that it is FHWA policy to inetgrate consideration of climate and extreme weather risks into its planning, operations, policies and programs. FHWA is the lead federal agency and this Order will guide all federal agencies in assessing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and will guide the implementaion of relevant MAP-21 provisions and recent Executive Orders.

It is good to see high level recognition of this very serious threat to the integrity of our transporation systems. For more information on federal government initiatives and meetings on the topic of climate change, please read FHWA's Office of Planning and the Environment Newsletter.

ORC has participated in numerous research studies for FHWA over the past four decades, most dealing with relocation assistance issues under the Uniform Act. In recent years we have provided relocation assistance for several flood mitigation projects in response to extreme weather events.

Highway Trust Fund Options Being Discussed

We have a new year and some new proposals for highway funding. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, is proposing to take advantage of the lowest gas prices in years to propose a 12 cent gas tax hike. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has proposed to fund the HIghway Trust Fund with a tax break for corporations if they repatriate profits stashed abroad.

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ORC Selected to provided acquisition and relocation services for the MSD Sewer Improvements in the Lick Run Watershed

ORC was recently contracted to provide staff members to be imbedded within the Greater Metropolitan Cincinnati Sewer District (MSD) facility to provide acquisition and relocation services for the Lick Run Project. The Lick Run Project is part of Project Groundwork, MSD's plan for reducing and eliminating sewer overflows into local creeks and rivers.

Currently this is a 12-month contract with the potential to add additional staff and extend the term. Along with acquisition and relocation services, addition we periodically added additional staff to perform QA/QC services on acquisition and relocation that had been previously completed by external and internal staff.

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ORC Hosts Managers in Cleveland, Ohio

ORC hosted 35 members of our Management Team in Cleveland on September 24, 25 and 26 for various meetings designed to enhance the skills of our management team.   Our meetings included a one-day seminar with Dean Minuto who authored The One Minute Manager.  Our managers are responsible for right of way acquisition and relocation assistance projects across twenty two states.  You can read more about our meeting on page five of the ORC Newsletter, The Acquirer.

Highway Trust Fund

Map-21 will expire September 30. Revenues from gas taxes can no longer sustain the funding needs for the Highway Trust Fund. In 2014, Congress appropriated $18.8 billion to the Highway Trust Fund to make up for funding that did not come from the gas tax and this money may run out before September 30. With people driving more fuel efficient vehicles, this problem will only worsen. As Congress considers a new transportation bill, alternative funding (like a tax on miles driven) should be considered.

The question is whether our elected officials have the courage to address any issues that include the word “tax”. Perhaps they could call it a “toll” on miles driven. They don’t seem to be afraid of that word. Without a dependable source of funding, the right of way phase for transportation projects could be slowed. Land acquisition and relocation assistance are critical path items in highway construction projects.

Current Open Positions

O. R. Colan Associates ensures nondiscrimination in all programs and activities in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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