CONROE, TX – July 16, 2020 – Congressman Kevin Brady (TX-08) released the following statement after the Surface Transportation Board released a new ruling on Texas Central Railroad’s (TCR) petition for exemption:
“While I strongly disagree with this decision, the good news is this doesn’t give TCR eminent domain authority to seize property without landowners consent – and finally forces TCR to publicly disclose their shaky financial projections to the Surface Transportation Board in any future bid to gain authority to construct the project.
“This will reveal why private investors have abandoned the project and why taxpayers should not be on the hook when it ultimately fails.”
Today, the Surface Transportation Board ruled that the proposed Houston to Dallas Highspeed rail line is subject to Board jurisdiction. This is a change from previous ruling, in which the STB found TCR’s project was not subject to the Board’s jurisdiction and therefore did not require Board approval.
However, the Board denies Texas Central’s petition for exemption and finds that, should Texas Central wish to request Board authority for its project, an application process under 49 U.S.C. § 10901 would be required. The Board also notes that issues pertaining to eminent domain authority are matters of state law, and that the finding does not confer any federal power to take privately owned property.