Eminent Domain Questions Still Dog Texas Central High Speed Rail Plans

The Texas Attorney General took a break from its crusade against unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to weigh in on a controversial question of property rights.

2 minute read

December 28, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Legal questions about the use of eminent domain for the Texas Central Railway high-speed rail system between Houston and Dallas are persisting nearly six months after the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal for a lawsuit filed by a Leon County landowner, James Miles, potentially affected by the route's construction.

Planetizen picked up news of the unanswered legal questions surrounding the use of eminent domain for the Texas Central Railway in 2014, 2016, and 2020. In 2021, the news seemed mostly positive for Texas Central after the private rail company signed construction contracts signed and bagged the aforementioned decision by the state's highest court.

According to an article by Alexa Ura for the Texas Tribune, however, the legal case against the company's use of eminent domain has a powerful new proponent, adding a new twist in the saga.

"The Texas attorney general’s office has put its weight behind a landowner’s case against the companies developing a controversial Dallas-Houston bullet train, arguing they can’t force people to sell parcels needed for the high-speed rail project," writes Ura.

"In a legal brief filed with the Texas Supreme Court on Friday, deputies for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued the high court should reverse that appellate decision and rule in Miles’ favor because the companies fall short of the Texas Constitution’s definition of a rail company," explains Ura.

If Texas central clears these legal hurdles and acquires the necessary funding (promised to be sourced from private sources), the system would accommodate trains traveling up to 205 mph and making the trip between Dallas and Houston—which takes four hours by car—in 90 minutes.

Monday, December 20, 2021 in Texas Tribune

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