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Texas Supreme Court reverses itself, will hear Texas Central case

By | October 18, 2021

Eminent domain case hinges on legal definition of a railroad

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Texas Central logoAUSTIN, Texas — Acting on a second request, the Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal regarding Texas Central’s eminent domain authority to acquire property for its planned high speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, a case hinging on whether Texas Central meets the legal definition of a “railroad company” or “interurban electric railway.”

In announcing on Friday that it would hear the case, the court set oral arguments for Jan. 11, 2022. The court had previously declined to hear the case [see “Texas Supreme Court declines to  hear Texas Central case,” Trains News Wire, June 21, 2021], but reversed itself in reviewing a petition for rehearing from landowner Jim Miles.

The case, Miles vs. Texas Central R.R. & Infrastructure, Inc., originally resulted in a trial court summary judgment for the property owner, but an appeals court overturned that decision, saying Texas Central was operating a railroad and therefore qualified as a railroad company under the applicable statute.

Miles’ petition for rehearing contends Texas Central does not qualify as a railroad because it has laid no track and does not operate trains, and does not fit the legislature’s definition of an interurban railway.

Community Impact Newspaper reports that Texas Central said in a statement it remains confident that “ultimately, the Texas Supreme Court will conclusively resolve this issue in Texas Central’s favor, agreeing with the court of appeals’ well-reasoned decision.” A spokeswoman for opponent group ReRoute the Route said it was “thankful the Texas Supreme Court decided to listen to the voices of numerous stakeholders who raised significant concerns about the proposed high-speed rail project.”

5 thoughts on “Texas Supreme Court reverses itself, will hear Texas Central case

  1. As far as I now eminent domain was for towns, cities, and the state for projects like schools, highways, fire station. Not to private for profit companies to take land for there project. Been fighting a natural gas pipeline company for years here in New Jersey an Penn.

    1. It’s also usable by railroad companies to acquire rights of way for constructing rail lines, and has been for over 150 years.

  2. We would still be riding stagecoaches if the NIMBY’s had their way. Nether UP or CP had any track or ran any trains when they started the transcontinental railway.

  3. “Voices of numerous stakeholders” aka, I wasn’t offered enough money to let the train pass through my property.

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