AUSTIN (KXAN) — A ruling by the Supreme Court of Texas Friday allows the private groups behind the proposed bullet train between Houston and Dallas to use eminent domain to take land for the project.
The ruling said Chapter 131 of the Texas Transportation Code grants eminent domain authority to an “interurban electric railway company,” which is a corporation-chartered electric railway between cities in Texas for the transportation of freight, passengers, or both.
The company, Texas Central, has control of three stations in Houston, Dallas and near College Station. It said the trip between Houston and Dallas will take less than 90 minutes.
“Driving is unpredictable,” Travis Kelly, vice president of Texas Central, said “It should take 4.5 hours to go from Dallas to Houston, but it often doesn’t.”
Texas Central also has control over a lot of the land for the route, but some landowners have sued to block the construction.
James Fredrick Miles, who owns property along the railway’s proposed route, sued after Texas Central attempted to survey his property. A trial court granted summary judgment for Miles.
But Friday, the Supreme Court sided with Texas Central 5-3, saying they do qualify as both a railroad company and an interurban electric railway company.
This ruling means they can take that land for the project for public use, and pay landowners for it, even if the landowner objects.
In 2018, Texas Central got a loan for this project of up to $300 million from Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transportation & Urban Development and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
The project is expected to take about five years to complete.