A ruling made this month by a San Leon Judge, Deborah Evans, could have major implications for the proposed high speed rail between Houston and Dallas, by preventing the rail line developers, Texas Central, from using “Eminent Domain” for acquiring land for the project when landowners don’t want to sell their land voluntarily. The company contends it has authority under the Texas law, but a Leon county judge disagrees. Texas Central isn’t actually a railroad company; therefore they do not have the authority to sell or provide access to their properties. That ruling came in the case of a Leon county couple who sued after the company wanted to survey on their property.
The attorney handling that lawsuit said, “This project cannot be finished without eminent domain and the project is completely off-track”.
Former Grimes County Judge Ben Leman is also applauding the ruling. Leman is now a state representative who is pushing legislation to clarify “who can use eminent domain”.
In response to the ruling, Texas Central issued a statement saying that they plan to appeal. Pending federal approval and litigation, the company hoped to begin building the line in 2019.
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