[Comments on H.R. 3129]
B-223216, Jul 18, 1986
In response to a congressional request, GAO commented on H.R. 3129 concerning the effect of the proposed Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act. GAO determined that, under H.R. 3129: (1) moving-expense-related benefits to displaced persons would increase to include business reestablishment costs; (2) lump-sum payments in lieu of moving expenses would be composed of a fixed payment of not less than $1,000 or more than $20,000; and (3) billboard owners would become eligible to elect to receive these lump-sum benefits in lieu of moving-expense-related benefits. GAO also determined that, under H.R. 3129: (1) renters of land from states, where no acquisition is currently involved, would be entitled to relocation benefits; (2) if a state's decision not to renew a rental agreement stemmed from its intention to carry out a generally funded project, the refusal to renew and the displacement of the renter would be the proximate result of the project; (3) relocation benefits are not required to be paid to displaced structure owners who rent property from a state, when the displacement is expressly authorized by state statute and is in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement; and (4) states' rights would be abridged by giving relocation payments to the lessee. GAO noted that an argument can be made that the amendments to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act should have the same effect to permit relocation benefits for renters whose agreements with the states are not renewed.