With the Texas Central’s high-speed rail fast approaching in Texas, legislators have been presented with an opportunity to reform Texas’ eminent domain laws. The controversial urban-versus-rural project has brought eminent domain policy to the limelight. The Texas Legislature can capitalize on lessons learned from the State’s bout with the Trans-Pecos Pipeline by protecting condemnees and incentivizing good faith efforts by condemnors.
This Article proposes five possible reforms for eminent domain law in Texas. First, the Texas Legislature should protect condemnees by aligning their appraisal disclosure requirements with condemnors, who have no duties to disclose appraisals. Second, legislative changes would allow attorney’s fees to be awarded to a condemnee when a condemnor’s offer is significantly lower than the actual value of the property. Third, legislative changes would inform condemnees of exactly which pieces of land that condemnors have the power to take when condemnors make their offer. Fourth, this Article proposes sensible protections for Texas homesteads. Last, this Article explores legislative and judicial blocks that can be used by opponents of the rail.
High-Speed Rail: An Opportunity for Texas Eminent Domain Reform,
Tex. A&M J. Prop. L.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/JPL.V5.I3.9