The State Public Works Board (the “Board”) adopted four Resolutions of Necessity approving the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) use of eminent domain for public necessity to acquire four parcels in Fresno and Madera County for the Initial Operating Segment of the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”). (Click HERE for map of Initial Operating Segment.) In addition, the Board approved the Authority’s selection of 158 parcels in Fresno and Kings County for future acquisition for the Project. The Authority has already commenced work for the first segment in Fresno County, demolishing buildings and clearing parcels within the alignment. However, some of the Authority’s negotiations with private property owners along the alignment have been unsuccessful and resulted in the Authority’s request to the Board to authorize its use of eminent domain to acquire these properties.
Eminent domain or condemnation provides a remedy for government agencies to acquire private property for public works and provides “just compensation” to the private owner for their condemned property. If the parties cannot agree to the amount, a judge determines what the government must pay. “Just compensation” encompasses the value of the property as well as any related damages caused by the loss of the property.