14 January 2014

Big day at SCOTUS for Rails to Rails?

Today is a big day at the Supreme Court for those who are tired of seeing underutilized railroad corridors converted in popular, public trail systems that encourage physical activity and connections with the environment.

The argument calendar says that today the Court will hear arguments in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States. Acording to the SCOTUS Blog, the issue at hand will be "Whether the United States retained an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right of Way Act of 1875 after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership."

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says that the stakes are high. An adverse decision "could also threaten existing rail-trails across America that utilize federally-granted rights-of-way."


Anonymous said...

3/10/14; SCOTUS ruled for the Brandt Family Trust; use of the land under an abandoned rail easement (if created under the 1875 law) reverts to the landowner, not the federal government. Hence, unless some other agreement was reached with the landowner, users of the trails are now trespassing.

While a noble idea, bikers simply taking private land for their trails has resulted in over 8,000 similar cases.

Anonymous said...

3/10/14: Today SCOTUS finally ruled for Property Rights. The Obama administration actually requested that Scotus take the case, wanting it to rule that land under abandoned rail lines easements, after abandonment, reverted to the Feds, to get about 8,000 really irate landowners off the government's bacl. Bad move. SCOTUS "benchslapped" the government, declaring that rail easements issued under the 1875 rail right of way act were just an easement. Once abandoned the underlying landowner enjoys full use of the land. The Forest Service and various towns have been ceasing these lands for bike paths without compensation or permission of the landowners. NO MORE.