To the Editor,
Federal Eminent Domain means no taxes on the rail portion of the property, just like a freeway according to the Ellis County Tax Assessor. If the railroad company owns property (other than the Rail line) then that property is taxed like any other business, with the exception of receiving numerous tax exemptions.
Therefore, the State Comptroller applies a valuation formula known as Railroad Rolling Stock that is based on miles of active rails in each county, not abandon rails. The state collects the monies from the railroad companies to be distributed to each county as per their valuation appraisal. The counties then place the funds into the county coffers. In Ellis County BNSF Railroad paid $28,000, and Union Pacific Railroad paid $27,900, for a total of $55,900, for railroad rolling stock that Ellis County received last year from the State Comptroller.
Now Ellis County being south of Dallas has numerous rails crossing the county then many other counties.
So when Texas Central Railroad (TCR) sent robo-calls to Ennis city residence on March 16 stating that, “They are calling on behalf of the school children of Ennis, Texas. To urge them to call the Ennis City Council members and ask them to support Central Texas Railway because it generates millions in new revenue for the city of Ennis and the Ennis School District.” Further, their literature promotes the millions of dollars flowing annually to benefit local counties, school districts and other taxing entities.
TCR had contracted with the social media company DGC, LLC. who made robo-calls that were publicly misleading. How can one rail line pay millions to just one small town considering all the many towns and cities between Dallas and Houston? The above facts indicate that receiving millions per town is not factual, nor financially feasible?
Therefore, what is a rumor or a reality when it comes to the promoters of the High Speed Rail? So who can we trust to tell the truth regarding the HSR community and economic benefits? Texas Concerned Citizens (TCC) went to the state statutes and the government sources who are directly involved with railroad taxes to obtain the above information.
Understanding TCC team is about economic development for Ellis County and at first they were excited about the possibility of a HSR passing through Ellis County. That was until they found out the true facts that lead to the conclusion that this HSR is a major economic disaster for Ellis as well as other counties except Dallas and Houston. TCC stated that it appears that no one is looking out for Ellis County not even our own North Central Texas Council of Government (NCTCOG better known as a Texas Regional Planning Commission) nor TxDOT, only Dallas is on their economic improvement planning strategies.
With a medium ticket price of $225, is the HSR really for the average person or is it just for government and political officials, legal representatives, corporate executives and the social jet setters while supporting eminent domain to enable their personal comfort and convenient lifestyle?
Also, guess who picks up the tab for the High Speed Rail security expenses within each county?