Texas is a huge state with a lot of roads to maintain that service everything from personal vehicles to oil tankers transporting crude. The ever-growing domestic economy in Texas also means that there is increasing pressure on the established roadways.
Lawmakers recently announced infrastructure investments and road expansions with a total budget of well over $80 billion. These massive projects will improve surface transportation around the state, but expanding infrastructure will also have a negative impact on some Texas property owners.
Those with properties that are close to existing highways and intersections may be at increased risk of losing their property to condemnation because of eminent domain claims as these projects move forward.
Road expansions often require property acquisition
Expanding a highway will take a lot of additional land, much of which does not currently belong to the state of Texas. The only way to break ground on these massive projects is to first acquire the properties near where the expansion will occur.
Homeowners and businesses alike may find that the properties they own are at risk due to eminent domain laws. If they do not cooperate with the sale of their property for the project, they could face condemnation proceedings in court. Depending on how much someone has invested in the property, even a fair market value offer may seem unfairly low.
Many property owners will find themselves scrambling to protect their interest in commercial property, a residential home too close to the side of the road, or even vacant land that they wanted to sell before retirement.
How can you respond to eminent domain claims?
As a property owner receiving early notice of an upcoming highway expansion, you may immediately start considering the worst-case scenario, such as the loss of the property for an unfair price. However, there may be several viable ways for you to respond and protect your ownership interests. These could include challenging the fair market value of the property or the need to include your property based on the plans for the project.
Learning more about your options in an eminent domain scenario will help you better protect your investment in Texas real estate, especially if you own land near a proposed highway expansion project.