85(R) - 2017
Transportation & Infrastructure
Relating to the acquisition and disposition of real property intended for high-speed rail projects.
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 979 would require that land acquired by a private entity for a high-speed rail project "through the threat of the exercise of a purported power
of eminent domain" would be legally bound to use that land in the high-speed rail project. Otherwise, before any sale of the land can be attempted, the original owner must be afforded the opportunity to reacquire the property. Essentially this gives the owner of the property taken under eminent domain first right of refusal to buy it back in the event that the property is not used for the private high speed rail project.
Vote Recommendation Notes
This bill supports the principle of property rights by making provision for reclamation of land seized, but not used, for a high-speed rail project. For this reason, we support SB 979.
On another note we are highly skeptical of the use of eminent domain for private transportation projects in the first place. Property rights should be jealously guarded against the prospect of eminent domain takings by private entities.