taoyue wrote:Interesting how things change as a nation develops! I recall reading an account by a 19th-century British writer about the ease with which land could be taken for railroad construction in the United States, compared to the situation in Britain. (Can't find it now, might've been Dickens, but somehow it doesn't seem like something he would write.)
The eminent domain laws are still on the books in many (if not most) jurisdictions, and railroads have this right.
However, as the country becomes more populated and more developed, it is becoming more difficult to exercise the right of eminent domain - not only because of the increased number of persons seeking to fight it, but the increased cost in doing so (now that the land is developed, it is worth more). I think the only major railroad eminent domain case going on currently is a coal-hauling route in southeastern Montana/Wyoming, through sparsely populated ranchland.
At least in my neck of the woods, "Property Rights" is the mantra of the day - "I want to do what God gave me the right to do, and I don't care what urban planners or my neighbor thinks!" Ironically, my wife belongs to a Native American tribe, and I could just as well argue that the land belonged to them first but was stolen. (And these same people who want "property rights" are against Native American casinos, sometimes on land they had to buy back at current market value!. Go figure!)