A state Republican representative from Corsicana, just south of Dallas, thinks that Texas Central High-Speed Rail should not be allowed to acquire any land because they are not yet ‘operating’ as a railroad.
The Dallas Morning News Transportation Writer Brandon Formby in the June 17 edition has the full story: http://www.dallasnews.com/…/20160617-opposition-to-high-spe…
State Representative Byron Cook has asked the Texas Attorney General, in another waste of taxpayer money, to issue an opinion on whether the private company qualifies as a railroad company before they actually operate a railroad.
State law allows companies “operating a railroad” to use eminent domain to acquire land. Texas Central says they need about a 100 foot wide strip of land for two tracks between Dallas and Houston and much of the way the line will be alongside those tall electric power line towers. Texas Central also said they would only use eminent domain powers as a last resort.
In his request to Attorney General Ken Paxton Representative Cook said that “The verb ‘operating’ is a present tense verb meaning that the company claiming to be a railroad company has to be operating a railroad today. To my knowledge, High Speed Rail is not currently operating a railroad and no information has been provided to landowners whose properties are being surveyed to prove that High Speed Rail is operating a railroad.”
OK….. so to carry this to it’s highest level of absurdity no electric utility, phone company, pipeline company or any other type of entity including a railroad like Union Pacific or BNSF Railway that would require the use of eminent domain in a project for the public good could ever be constructed because it was not first “operating” the specific project. You can’t operate it if it isn’t built yet. Or are we missing something here? Is that sounding like a Bill Clinton definition of “is” is?
Representative Cook is tying up the Texas legislative system and wasting taxpayer dollars with more specious arguments. Are you happy about that, Texas?