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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration to Assist States with Innovative Reopening Efforts

Thursday, May 28, 2020

FHWA 09-20
Contact: Mike Reynard
Tel.: (202) 366-0660

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the agency will consider short-term exceptions to the fair market value (FMV) requirement for the temporary use of sidewalks and public parking areas in the highway right-of-way (ROW) as additional restaurant seating or retail space. The FHWA will support States as communities seek innovative ways to safely reopen the economy while social distancing.

“America’s restaurants and retailers are the engine of our economy,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “Without compromising safety, the FHWA wants to help these businesses find a way to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 public health emergency and continue to operate.”

In response to State requests, FHWA will consider short-term FMV exceptions for the temporary use of sidewalks and public parking that offer more area for restaurants and stores to serve their customers at a safe distance. States must implement proper safety measures to protect both clients and employees in the ROW area. These include ensuring safety for drivers and pedestrians.

The FHWA has decided to consider short-term FMV exceptions on a case-by-case basis given these extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances to assist States in their efforts to reopen business and spur economic recovery. Executive Order (EO) 13924, Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery, further supports FHWA using its authority to encourage economic recovery in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The exceptions will be granted only for the limited purpose of safely reopening the economy and for an initial period of 120 days from the date of the exception.

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