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The Roadblock That Could Derail Plans For Texas High Speed Rail

For a long time now, plans have been in the pipeline for a high-speed railway system in the United States which would speed up logistics and hopefully, integrate lines to connect different states to make transportation and travel easier and faster.

However, high speed rail has faced staunch opposition from the legal to the political, and now to issues on semantics.

Despite having everything laid out for the Texas High Speed Rail to come into fruition and begin its construction, Texas Central Railway is facing an existential question posed by the opposition: whether it's a railroad at all.

“Simply self-declaring that you are a railroad does not make it so,” Kyle Workman, the president of the opposition group Texans Against High-Speed Rail, told the Houston Chronicle in February.
The terminology is important for reasons beyond its own sake. Being a railroad or not determines whether Texas Central is entitled to use eminent domain as it surveys and acquires property. State law allows railroads and certain other private companies to use eminent domain to seize land for projects in the public interest.

Unfortunately, a judge ruled that Texas Central did not have the right of eminent domain because they do not operate a rail system yet. But that's not all. There are other legal hurdles dealing with property rights and right-of-way that Texas Central has to overcome.

Hopefully, if these would be cleared, the plans would be underway by late 2019.

(Image credit: Sui-setz/Wikimedia Commons)


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