Ben Leman

A group of Texas State Representatives and Senators sent an additional Amicus Curie letter to the Texas Supreme Court urging them to end the controversial Texas high-speed rail project.

The supplemental letter is signed by ten representatives, including Kyle Kacal of District 12 and Ben Leman of District 13, as well as Senators Lois Kolkhorst of District 18 and Charles Schwertner of District 5.

Lawmakers had last year submitted the original Amicus Curae letter in the James Frederick Miles v. Texas Central Railroad and Infrastructure Inc. and Integrated Texas Logistics case.

The Texas Supreme Court heard the case last January and both sides are now awaiting the formal decision.

Court filings show attorneys from ten different counties, including Grimes and Waller, claim the railroad owes nearly $623,000 in back taxes.

In the additional letter, which Congressman Leman posted on his Facebook page, TCRI is accused of using the threat of eminent domain to pressure local landowners to sell their property through option contracts, only to secure the properties in order to obtain a $300 million loan from the Japanese government.

The letter states that if TCRI were to default, the Japanese government would be able to obtain full title to the land without judicial foreclosure. Lawmakers felt this was an extremely possible scenario given that TCRI cannot even afford to pay its back taxes.

Also in the letter, it is stated that TCRI swore to the House Lands and Resources Management Committee in 2019 that they would not exercise their options to purchase properties until they had all the necessary permits and the $30 billion in financing needed to build the project. Lawmakers say TCRI got neither, but exercised its call options anyway.

In addition to this, the letter states that neither the Texas Legislature nor the Texas Constitution would give the power of eminent domain to any private entity, especially one accused of acting on behalf of a foreign government.

Congressman Leman, who was president of the Texans Against the High Speed ​​Rail group before entering public service, said TCRI has no money, no license, and doesn’t even ask for permitted, and that must be the end of the project.

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Jose P. Rogers