For the past three legislative sessions, proposed reforms to the law of eminent domain have failed win legislative approval. The Coalition for Critical Infrastructure (CCI), a project of TCJL, represents the public and private entities that have eminent domain authority to acquire private property for public use. CCI has engaged with members of the Legislature and the landowner community in an effort to reach agreement on reasonable, common sense reforms that promote transparency, accountability, and fairness in the eminent domain process with adding litigation costs and delay to much-needed critical infrastructure construction in Texas. Though these efforts have yet to reach a conclusion, CCI pledges to work in good faith in the 2021 session to pass meaningful reforms that benefit landowners, public and private entities, and the general public.
In pursuance of this pledge, this site will be dedicated to providing information about eminent domain in order to assist policymakers as they consider proposals to change the law. It is also intended to educate the general public about the necessity of acquiring property for infrastructure projects that provide basic services to our citizens, such as water supply, electricity, natural gas, motor fuels, roads, bridges, and highways, flood control projects, and rail lines and other transportation projects.
The judicious use of eminent domain has been crucial to the economic growth and prosperity of the state. Last year more than 400,000 people and thousands of new businesses came to Texas. The population of Texas has grown by more than 3 million since 2010, from 25.1 to 28.3 million. This dynamic growth is forecast to continue into the foreseeable future and will require public and private entities to invest billions of dollars in necessary transportation, water, and energy infrastructure. The lion’s share of these investments will be made by the Texas families and businesses that benefit directly from these projects and whose quality of life and economic success depend upon them.
Over the past two decades, the Texas Legislature has played a critical role in fostering the “Texas Miracle” and creating a legal, regulatory, and fiscal environment in which Texans can thrive. The Legislature’s wisdom is evident in the results. We should proceed with caution when discussing changes in the law of eminent domain that may raise barriers to growth or increase costs to citizens. Each proposal must be carefully evaluated and scored to avoid unintended consequences and to make sure that decision-makers understand its economic effects. Only a deliberative and fact-based process can deliver eminent domain reform that moves Texas forward. CCI looks forward to being part of this important discussion.