Eminent Domain

The Rumor
“A private company does not have the right to use eminent domain.”
The Reality

We recognize that Texas land is an important and emotional issue and it’s one we take very seriously. Anytime there is an impact to someone’s property it’s deeply personal. That is why the approach used on this project is to genuinely understand issues and concerns and work collaboratively with landowners to come to a commercial agreement.

However, as a last resort, eminent domain powers for railroads like UP, BNSF and Texas Central are set forth in the Texas Statutes. Texas forefathers passed laws allowing private companies in certain industries that build infrastructure the ability to exercise eminent domain in limited cases.

  • Internet/Telephone (i.e. Verizon/AT&T)
  • Electric utility service for air conditioning, etc (i.e. Oncor/Centerpoint)
  • Gas for vehicles (i.e. pipeline companies),
  • Transportation of people and goods (i.e. highways and railroads)

In building this project, the commitment to minimize the impact to landowners and communities is paramount.  You can see these principles listed here at our Landowner Bill of Rights.

Today, the law governing a railroad’s use of eminent domain is found under the Texas Transportation Code in Section 112.053 and Section 131.012.

The Rumor
“The Texas high-speed train will use eminent domain to condemn a 4 mile swath across Texas.”
The Reality

These claims are false and alarmist. The Texas high-speed train is being built to have the LEAST impact possible, using low-impact design principles to minimize land impacts. This approach is not only best for communities and the environment, but also for the operation of the railroad and execution of its business plan. All claims of this nature are simply false. The facts and common sense prove the point:

  • It is in Texas Central’s best interest to limit the amount of land required for the system. Purchasing land is intrusive, complicated and expensive.
  • In the Federal Railroad Administration’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, limits of disturbance (Rights of Way) are clearly outlined and defined.
  • The rights of way outlined in the DEIS do not exceed 500ft.
  • Dirt/aggregates and materials will be purchased in the open market. It is common sense to purchase these materials commercially, as buying more acreage is significantly costlier and more time consuming.
Update

In February 2017, Texas Central announced some exciting news about its Land Option Program. This news generated great excitement along the route, but also some misinterpretations of the important milestones. Here, Texas Central sets the record straight about a particular news release issued by a group opposing the train.

In addition, first-hand accounts from land-owners participating in the Land Option Program show that they were treated fairly throughout the process.

Busting Myths At High Speed
Project FinancingLearn The Facts
Land AccessLearn The Facts
Eminent DomainLearn The Facts
ProfitabilityLearn The Facts
Reason FoundationLearn The Facts
Emergency AccessLearn The Facts
Project ViabilityLearn The Facts