Decision rendered by TX appellate court, transformative! Texas Central deemed both ‘railroad company and interurban electric railway’

The below May 7, 2020 press release is from the Texas Central Railroad.

Today, the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas ruled in favor of Texas Central, holding that it was both a railroad company and interurban electric railway.

The Memorandum Opinion, authored by Justice Nora Longoria, held “Having found that the appellants (Texas Central Railroad and Infrastructure, Inc. and Integrated Texas Logistics, Inc.) are both railroad companies and interurban electric railways, we conclude that the trial court erred by granting Miles’ motion for summary judgment and denying appellants’ motion for partial summary judgment.”

This decision comes after a four-year long court battle waged by landowners along the proposed route in Leon County, Texas. The landowners argued that the Texas Central project was not a railroad and therefore did not have the rights associated with a railroad, including eminent domain and access to property for surveyors.

“This decision is rooted in state law that allows survey access and use of eminent domain by railroads, pipelines, electrical lines and other industries that provide for the public good and a strong economy,” said Carlos Aguilar, CEO of Texas Central. “This decision confirms our status as an operating railroad and allows us to continue moving forward with our permitting process and all of our other design, engineering and land acquisition efforts.”

In 2019, Texas Central completed a portion of the land surveys required by the federal agencies conducting an environmental review of the project. This information allowed Texas Central to plan a route that is efficient, considerate of the environment through Central Texas and impacts the fewest property owners. The Final Environmental Impact Statement on the project is scheduled to be published by the Federal Railroad Administration later this month.

“Texas Central confirms that it will always respect Texas landowners’ rights and will follow due process. Texas Central wishes to express gratitude to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals for its time in considering Texas Central’s appeal,” continued Aguilar.

“Today’s ruling supports the enormous amount of work Texas Central has done to date. Texas has the capacity, drive and population growth needed to make the Texas High-Speed Train successful and it’s that momentum that is pushing the nation’s first high-speed train forward.”

Houston, Texas skyline

Editor’s note: Please note that California’s high-speed train has likewise been designated the nation’s first such system. Whereas California’s high-speed train system is designated a public infrastructure project, Texas’ system is not. The Texas Central will connect Dallas and Houston with an electrified high-speed railway, with trains to operate at a maximum speed of 205 miles per hour. Image credit: Carol M. Highsmith – Library of Congress collection.

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