Company may use eminent domain to get private land

Dec. 28, 2017 at 5 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Thanks to the Advocate for the story from The Texas Tribune and The Dallas Morning News about the proposed high-speed rail service between Houston and Dallas. This is an important story.

Few things are more dear to the hearts of Texans than the private property rights of citizens. It is burdensome when government takes a person's land for public use. But those highways, schools, airports and dams that need the land are nevertheless necessary and serve the interests of the state.

It is when private - for profit - companies want to take land for their own use that Texans should stand up in opposition. The operators of Texas Central Partners, the company that wants to build and operate the bullet train, will offer to purchase the land they need for the rail line. If they cannot convince property owners to sell, they have in their back pocket the power of eminent domain. This power to confiscate private property for "public use" is granted to private entities by the legislature. Does anyone remember the infamous Trans-Texas Corridor that was going to take vast amounts of private land? Texans saw it for what it was, a land grab of epic proportions and stopped it.

This is what I believe Texas Central Partners wants to do. They want to enrich themselves further by building a new, and unnecessary, high speed railroad through 10 Texas counties and thousands of private properties. I'm sure they have all kinds of statistics that "prove" the bullet train is needed, ignoring the already existing highways between Houston and Dallas, as well as four airports that offer airline service between the cities. This proposal by Texas Central Partners is nothing more than another attempt to snatch private property to further enrich the already rich at the expense of ordinary farmers and ranchers who don't have the backing of millionaire legislators.

Carl Bankston, Victoria



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