Chesterton Tribune



Soliday bill would require public need prior to eminent domain taking by RRs

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State Reps. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron, have introduced a bill aimed at protecting and informing Hoosier communities before eminent domain can be exercised for railroads.

That bill--HB 1260--passed out of the House on Thursday, according to a statement released jointly by Soliday and Aylesworth.

Before land is placed under eminent domain for the construction of railroads, HB 1260 would require railroad carriers to demonstrate that they will subsequently utilize the property for the public use. “In short, the bill would require there to be a compelling public need for the railroad to assume ownership of the property in question,” the statement said.

“Updating laws that have not been touched since the 19th century will benefit Indiana's private property owners,” Soliday said. “This legislation would create higher, enforceable standards for these entities to meet concerning eminent domain.”

The public-need legal standard is already required to exercise eminent domain in other situations, the statement noted. “However, many elements of Indiana's eminent domain laws concerning railroads have not been updated since the 19th century.”

“Private property owners deserve to know that the land they are being forced to sell to railroads in cases of eminent domain are going to be a benefit, not a detriment, to their community,” Aylesworth said. “To ensure the public isn't blindsided, information should be provided that spells out the impact of and need for a proposed rail project.”

The bill will now go on to the Senate for further consideration.


Posted 1/27/2017




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