Posts tagged Projects.
Posted in Projects

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) recently announced the award of $878 million to fund 114 transportation projects.  Brian Kelly, the acting Secretary of Business, Transportation & Housing Agency, stated:

This billion-dollar investment helps preserve California’s great infrastructure of the past and put thousands of Californian’s to work building something new.  These investments in preservation and innovation are absolutely critical to California’s economy:  In 2010, traffic congestion caused 95 million hours of delay, wasting fuel and ...
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The City of Imperial has taken the first step in pursuing an eminent domain proceeding by adopting a resolution of necessity to acquire a vacant property for its Transit Center Project.  As reported by the Imperial Valley Press, the City and the property owner have been negotiating the City's purchase of the property but have reached an impasse.  

While the owner concedes the project is needed in the city, he believes his property is "very valuable" and that other locations would be better suited for the Project.  The City disagreed and is moving forward with acquiring the ...

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Light rail and rapid transit appear to be the hot ticket in California.  Most of our right-of-way acquisition and eminent domain work over the last few years has centered on such projects.  One interesting dispute that regularly pops up between the land owner's appraiser and the public agency's appraiser is whether or not there are "project benefits".  In analyzing the property's "before-condition" value, such benefits need to be excluded (whether positive or negative).  (See Code Civ. Proc., sec. 1263.330.)  But when assessing the property's "after-condition" value in the case ...

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According to an article in the Whittier Daily News, La Mirada agrees to pay $1.8 million to settle eminent domain case for new railroad underpass, the City of La Mirada has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle the last eminent domain case involving acquisition of easements and property for the Valley View Avenue underpass at the BNSF Railroad crossing.  The parties were likely close to trial as they had recently exchanged final offers and final demands (see Code of Civil Procedure section 1250.410).  

The $1.8 million settlement sounds like a good deal for the City, as the owner's final ...

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According to an article in the Press Democrat, Rohnert Park OKs eminent domain at site of future hotel, restaurant, the Rohnert Park City Council recently adopted a resolution of necessity authorizing the use of eminent domain to acquire part of a property needed for a street widening project.  The street widening project is necessary accommodate increased traffic from the new Graton Resort & Casino, and it will require the partial acquisition of 22 properties.

The acquisition encompasses over 16,000 square feet from an undeveloped property that is slated to be improved ...

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California continues to move forward with more infrastructure improvement projects.  According to an article in the Daily Republic, Agency starts eminent domain proceedings for I-80/680 project, the Solano Transportation Authority and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are embarking on a $100 million-plus project to improve traffic flow near the Interstates 80 and 680 interchange.  The project includes widening the freeway and constructing new on-ramps at the Green Valley Road interchange.

In order to move forward with project construction ...

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For the better part of a year, we've been writing about the controversial proposal to use the power of eminent domain to condemn underwater mortgages, allowing homeowners to have a new loan that better reflects the underlying value of the property. 

While the proposal originates from a private company, Mortgage Resolution Partners, much of the media attention focused on a single geographic location:  San Bernardino County, where (at least according to the Wall Street Journal) Mortgage Resolution Partners claims 42,000 of the County's 59,000 privately held mortgages are ...

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As recently reported in the San Clemente Times, Caltrans is scheduled to begin construction on the Interstate 5/Ortega Highway Interchange project in mid-February.  (See Brian Park's article in the San Clemente Times, Jan. 10, 2013.)   The project, which will reconfigure the Ortega Highway bridge and a number of on-ramps and off-ramps in order to relieve congestion, has had substantial impacts on property owners and businesses.  According to the article, Caltrans anticipates having a complete project schedule by the end of the month.     

Posted in Projects

As we mentioned in our recent 2012 Eminent Domain Year in Review, we've seen a boom of infrastructure projects in California -- a trend we expect to continue into the near future.  So what exactly are we talking about?  Here's just a few examples:

  • California Transportation Commission's $64 Million Allocation:  According to a Caltrans press release, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) recently allocated $64 million to 43 projects that will reduce traffic congestion and repair highways, local streets, and bridges.  You can find a list of the projects ...
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In order to construct the Silva Valley Interchange on Highway 50, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution on January 4, 2013 to acquire approximately 12 acres by eminent domain.  As reported by In El Dorado County, the county could not negotiate a deal with the owner of a 52 acre block of which the county seeks the 12 acres. The owner did not oppose the project but expressed concerns as to the impacts it would have on his remaining acreage. 

While the Board maintains that using eminent domain is not common for them and Caltrans forced its ...

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Below are some updates on California projects have turned to eminent domain to complete right-of-way acquisition.  They involve issues that are somewhat typical in condemnation proceedings: disputes over severance damages and a property's highest and best use.  

  • Riverside County Flood Control Project:  According to an article in the North County Times, LAKE ELSINORE: Board authorizes condemnation for flood channel, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors has approved the use of eminent domain to acquire a 5-acre easement across a 33-acre property for the Arroyo Del Toro flood ...
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The FHWA recently published a series of useful short videos on its website.  For those of you working on transportation projects involving federal aid, check them out below:

  • Right-of-Way Coordination and Certification Requirements.  Before an agency gets to construct its project, it needs to coordinate and certify the right-of-way.  This video provides an overview of the initial coordination process when federal funds are involved, including what must be completed before putting a project out to bid, and the need to obtain physical possession of the impacted properties.
Posted in Projects

If you're an infrastructure and right of way junkie like me, you'll be interested in a few of the updates below.  If you're not a transportation nut (and understandably so), it still doesn't hurt to get caught up on the happenings in California and at the federal level.  So read on.

MAP-21:  This Summer, Congress passed the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act."  If you ever hear the acronym MAP-21 thrown around, this Act is what's being referred to.  What does it do and why do you care?  In its simplest terms, the Act reauthorizes transportation funding through the end of 2014.  But it is ...

Posted in Projects

Two recent news articles caught my eye about a project taking place in San Diego County.  A North County Times article, ESCONDIDO: Eminent domain hearing set for Bear Valley properties, reports that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors was set to vote this week on potentially using eminent domain to acquire necessary properties for the expansion of Bear Valley Parkway.  While the project would widen the busy roadway from two to four lanes, add a center median and bicycle lanes, it would also necessitate the demolition of 18 homes and the taking of 32 slices of property -- mostly ...

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Here's a quick update about some recent headlines in our eminent domain community.

  • Eminent Domain for New School in Foster City?  According to a Mercury News article, Charter Square owners resistant to selling property to school district, the San Mateo-Foster City School District is looking for a site for a new school, and it may turn to eminent domain to acquire the Charter Square Shopping Center.  Moving forward with the new school depends on the passage of a $130 million bond measure in June.  If it goes forward, more than a dozen businesses will need to be relocated.
  • Orinda to Condemn ...
Posted in Projects

 Here's a few updates on eminent domain-related issues taking place in California this week:

  • City of Covina Condemnation:  According to an article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Covina using eminent domain to take property from Alhassen-controlled company, the City of Covina has filed an eminent domain action to acquire a vacant, half-acre property owned by West Covina-based developer Ziad Alhassen.  The City intends to utilize the property for parking for police department employees and County firefighters.  The condemnation action was necessary after the City and the owner ...
Posted in Projects

The debate over the extensions of some of the Bush-era tax cuts have been making national news for some time.  It's splattered all over the newspaper and has its own running commentary on the political talk shows. 

But today, there's a different twist for those of us who deal with eminent domain.  Congress is debating the extension of the payroll taxes yet again, but this time, a major eminent domain issue is wrapped up in the fray.

Specifically, Republicans in Congress had said they planned to couple the extension of the tax cuts with a requirement to fast-track approval of a ...

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Anyone involved in the right-of-way industry understands that communication is key.  Whether you are on the side of a property owner or a public agency, a forced acquisition of property is never comfortable.  But being straightforward and opening an honest dialogue usually goes a long way.  Public agencies and their agents should be prepared to explain the need for the public project, the details of the take, the potential impacts, and how the value of the property was determined.

A perfect example of what happens when there is miscommunication is highlighted in a Redding.com article by ...

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Many times before a government agency actually commits itself to moving forward with acquiring a property for a public project, the agency needs to undertake certain testing at the site to make sure the site is viable and feasible.  After all, no agency wants to unknowingly be stuck with a contaminated property or one that cannot support the proposed use.  The testing involved usually involves various degrees of soil sampling and boring. 

Public agencies typically seek permission from the owner of the property in question to conduct the testing.  But what happens when the ...

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As recently reported by Jason Plautz at E&E in his article "Bipartisan lawmakers seek $13.8B for infrastructure improvements," members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are discussing a potential bipartisan bill that would provide approximately $13.8 billion in funding for wastewater infrastructure projects, and several billion in alternative financing for clean water infrastructure projects. 

According to the draft bill summary, the bill would "create thousands of new, domestic jobs in the construction and wastewater-support sectors through ...

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According to a Red Bluff Daily News article, "Eminent domain grants access in Tehama County," the realignment of Bowman Road and the replacement of South Fork Cottonwood Creek are moving forward, and the County is reaching deals with the impacted property owners, but only after the commencement of eminent domain proceedings.

One property owner is granting Tehama County a permanent easement and a temporary construction easement for $2,500, and another owner has reached a deal at $50,000.  On top of the monetary compensation, the County has agreed to create a driveway encroachment to ...

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According to a Turlock Journal article, "TID moves ahead with eminent domain," the Turlock Irrigation District approved the adoption of a resolution of necessity in order to move forward with eminent domain for the Hughson/Grayson 115 kv transmission line project.  

As expected, impacted property owners are not satisfied with the agency's appraised value.  The article reports that residents are in the process of obtaining their own appraisals, and have requested a 30 day extension prior to the commencement of eminent domain proceedings.  (As a public agency, the irrigation district ...

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It is pretty common, at least in California, for a business being displaced by an eminent domain proceeding to seek compensation for loss of business goodwill.  But what happens when the "business" is a non-profit organization?

In Cathedral City, the city has plans to acquire a property on which a longstanding thrift store sits.  An August 17 article by Colin Atagi in The Desert Sun, Cathedral City plans may push Angel View move, opens:

A Cathedral City thrift store that's older than the community itself may relocate if the city acquires the property through eminent domain.

While the ...

Posted in Projects

Improving California's infrastructure continues to be a major focus across the state.  We've been reporting for months the stream of funding that is making its way towards much needed transportation projects.  This week California saw a major influx of additional Proposition 1B funding to the tune of $2.2 billion which will be spread across 146 highway, transit and rail projects.

  • In Los Angeles, Caltrans reports that money is being spent on high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on US 101, along with rehabilitation of the I-710, I-5, and SR-60 freeways.  
  • For the San Diego folks, check out ...
Posted in Projects

Want to know what's going on with some of Southern California's largest infrastructure projects?  Here's a quick update.

  • I-5 Corridor Improvements:  If you live in California, you've almost certainly spent many hours on the 5 freeway.  It runs from the US/Mexico border all the way through Oregon and even up into Canada.  With Southern California's population growth, Caltrans has invested over $3 billion to improve two areas of the I-5 over the next five years:  (i) the segment between the Orange County line and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605); and (ii) the segment between the ...
Posted in Projects

It's not often we go an entire week without a blog post, but last week was a bit hectic on our end.  Here's a few California eminent domain and infrastructure updates from throughout the week:

  • San Bernardino Eminent Domain:  In its article "IVDA approves eminent domain for Tippecanoe widening," The Riverside Press-Enterprise is reporting that the Inland Valley Development Agency has authorized moving forward with eminent domain to acquire 461 square feet of property in San Bernardino near the north east corner of Tippecanoe and Central Avenue as part of a street widening effort ...
Posted in Projects

Albany Beach in Northern California is a popular waterfront hot-spot.  However, the East Bay Regional Park District feels it's far from reaching its potential.  A long-planned restoration project is intended to improve the area's public access and the ecological environment.  However, the project hinges on one missing piece of the puzzle:  acquisition of a 2.8-acre parcel owned by Golden Gate Fields.

According to an East Bay Express article by Nate Seltenrich, "The Beautification of Albany Beach," the District's nine-years of negotiations have not led to a deal on the property ...

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According to an article by Ken Carlson in the Modesto Bee, "Modesto will try eminent domain," the Modesto City Council this week voted 6-0 in favor of utilizing eminent domain to acquire easements necessary for the widening of Roselle Avenue.  The remaining hold-out properties include part-takes from a seven-acre ranchette and a two-and-a-half acre vacant lot.  The owner of the ranchette, Daniel Nickles, claims the City's survey is flawed, and its $15,000 offer is less than a tenth of fair market value.

The acquisition if Nickles' property includes a 5-foot by ...

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Today the California Transportation Commission announced the allocation of $101 million to fund 90 state-wide transportation projects.  The CTC's updated project allocation list provides a full breakdown of all the projects.

In reviewing the project list, there appears to be a big push towards going "green":  many of the projects involve improvements such as tree planting, compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, pedestrian and bicycle trails, or acquisition of property for restoration and habitat protection.  There's also a handful of ...

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Nossaman's Infrastructure Practice Group regulary provides updates on infrastructure projects and finance issues across the country on its blog, Infrainsightblog.com.  When the group provides an update that we think is informative for our readers, we try to mention it here. 

One recent article by our Infrastructure Group, "New Surface Transportation Legislation Likely to Encounter Many Roadblocks in the Coming Months," seems particularly useful.  The article indicates that the Obama Administration has the passage of a multi-year surface transportation bill high ...

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Some of my colleagues at Nossaman have prepared a pretty detailed nationwide summary of key transportation projects and their progress in 2010.  The piece, 2010 Transportation Infrastructure Year in Review, struck me as potentially being a helpful resource for any number of reasons, and it occurred to me that anyone else working in transportation infrastructure may also find it useful.  

They've included information about federal TIFIA grants, TIGER II grants, updates on efforts to implement public-private partnerships, and procurement of and milestones for some of the biggest ...

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Posted in Projects

We noted in our 2010 year-in-review E-Alert that the stimulus dollars were starting to make their way towards local agencies so infrastructure projects could be built.  2011 is now off to a fast start:  according to a recent Caltrans press release, the California Transportation Commission has announced the allocation of $1 billion towards 107 California transportation projects, including $838 million from Proposition 1B bond funds (which was approved by voters in 2006).

Here are some of the highlights as to how these funds will be utilized:

  • $46.55 million to install rail ...
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New subway lines don't come around every day.  They are expensive, complicated projects that take years to plan, finance, and build.  But it looks like major cities on both coasts are working towards new major new subway projects. 

In New York, the Second Avenue Subway Project is the first major expansion of New York's subway system in more than half a century.  The MTA started studying the project in the mid-1990's, issued an Environmental Impact Statement in 1999, and finally broke ground in 2007.  Construction is now well underway. 

In Los Angeles, the proposed project making most of ...

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We recently wrapped up assisting with the acquisition of several part-takes of commercial and residential properties for a public transit project.  One of the big issues involved with each of the acquisitions centered on whether the project provided the impacted properties with benefits that would offset the potential severance damages.

By way of background, when only a portion of property is acquired through the use of eminent domain, the acquiring entity is required to pay not only for the portion of the property acquired, but also for any decline in value the remainder ...

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The City of Fremont announced that it plans to condemn a small, 1,249 square foot property located at the corner of Warren Avenue and Kato Road in order to facilitate its Warren Avenue Grade Separation Project.

There's nothing particularly notable about the announcement, except for a potential regulatory overlay.  The parcel is apparently owned by AT&T Communications, and even though the property currently lies vacant, AT&T is apparently taking the position that it cannot agree to any deal with the City without first obtaining approval from the California Public Utilities ...

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We've previously reported on the Fresno Unified School District's plans to build its $20 million southeast elementary school which requires the acquisition of 20 different parcels.  While it initially appeared that the acquisition of the Foursquare Gospel Church would be a major hold-up, that no longer appears to be the case. 

According to a recent KMPH Fox News article, "Fresno Church Faces Eminent Domain," the District has reached a deal with the Foursquare Gospel Church, and eminent domain will no longer be necessary.  However, the story does not quite end there, as the ...

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According to an article in the Press Democrat, "City moves toward eminent domain for Hwy. 101 interchange," the City of Petaluma is contemplating the use of eminent domain to acquire property necessary for the Highway 101-East Washington interchange expansion.  

The impacted parcels include the land behind the Raley's shopping center, the K-mart center, and vacant land owned by Regency ...

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The site selection process for a new school is typically a difficult one, as large acreage is usually needed in the middle of a populated area.  When these two factors are combined, eminent domain often follows.  

According to a recent article in the Fresno Bee, "Fresno Unified moves ahead on southeast elementary school," this is precisely the situation faced by the Fresno Unified School District as it proceeds with building its new $20 million southeast elementary school.  The District needs 8.43 acres, requiring the acquisition of 20 different parcels from 17 different owners.  In ...

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According to an article in the Valley News, "Riverside public hearing to consider eminent domain for bridge on Iowa Ave.," the Riverside City Council is contemplating using eminent domain to complete the Iowa Grade Separation Project

In order to (1) build the 500-foot long bridge over railroad tracks on Iowa Avenue and (2) construct necessary northbound and southbound ramps, the Project requires the acquisition of portions of seven properties on Iowa Avenue between Palmyrita Avenue and Spring Street.

The City has already begun negotiations with the owners ...

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I live in Orange County.  Every time I contemplate a trip to San Diego, I run the calculations: 

  • How bad is the I-5 freeway going to be;
  • How badly do I need to be in San Diego; and
  • Can I find a way to extend/change my schedule to avoid the worst of the traffic? 

Granted, I engage in the same internal debate when I need to head towards Los Angeles, but at least going that direction, I have a number of route choices.  Going to San Diego, it's basically the I-5 or stay home. 

Caltrans is in the midst of a major planning process for possible expansion of the I-5 between La Jolla and Oceanside.  The public ...

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According to an article on Recordnet.com, "Water fight goes to court," San Joaquin County water officials are planning to use their eminent domain powers to take thousands of acres of ranch land for a proposed reservoir.  Officials say the project -- called MORE WATER -- is needed to satisfy the County's growing population and to reduce dependence on wells which are depleting the groundwater supply.

The County recently filed a lawsuit in order to gain access to the ranchers' property to conduct surveys and drill test holes.  14 of the 16 landowners have granted the County ...

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According to an article in the Orange County Register, "H.B. mobile home park owner fights city's property seizure," the owner of Pacific Mobilehome Park is challenging a street-widening project for which the City of Huntington Beach plans acquire eight mobile homes through the use eminent domain.  The street-widening project will widen Atlanta Avenue between Huntington Street and Delaware Street, and the mobile home park owner claims the project's environmental impacts were not sufficiently studied. 

The City's zoning administrator waived the need for an in-depth ...

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Few property owners look forward with any enthusiasm to the date the government finally announces it is moving forward with plans to condemn their property.   But owners who pretend that day will never actually arrive often realize too late that they have missed opportunities to protect their investments.

Eminent domain often proceeds over a very long time-table.  From project conception to right of way acquisition, years may pass, with properties held up in a cruel limbo as owners wait to see if the project really happens, and if so, whether their property will ultimately be impacted. 

In ...

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According to an article in this week's New York Times, "Solar Power Plants to Rise on U.S. Land," the United States has approved two large solar power plants to be built on federal lands.  This is the first time such large plants will be built on federal land, and both are slated for California. 

The first plant is proposed by Tessera Solar and will be built on 6,360 acres in the Imperial Valley.  The second plant is proposed by Chevron Energy and will be built on 422 acres in the Lucerne Valley.  When completed, the two projects could generate enough energy to power as many as 566,000 ...

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In May, we reported on the City of Chino Hills' efforts to stop a portion of Southern California Edison's Tehachapi Transmission Project.  The project involves 175 miles of transmission line right of way designed to serve wind farm development in the Tehachapi area. 

Much of the right of way for the transmission lines runs through remote, undeveloped areas.  Though there have been many disputes over the amount of money SCE must pay to acquire any new right of way it needs (much of the project runs along pre-existing right of way), there has been little dispute about SCE's right to ...

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The City of Fontana will meet tonight to consider adopting a resolution of necessity to acquire property for the Citrus Avenue Interchange project.  According to a September 21 article in the The Sun, "Citrus Avenue interchange on Fontana City Council agenda," the City is anticipating that the majority of the funding for the $57.5 million project will come from Proposition 1B and Measure I funds, along with State Transportation Improvement Program funds.  

The City has apparently been in negotiations with the property owner, but has been unable to reach an agreement.  According to the ...

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According to a Modesto Bee article, "Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors Watch," Stanislaus County will vote tonight on whether to utilize the County's power of eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire property necessary for the Kiernan Avenue / Highway 99 interchange project.  The County apparently believes it can secure the necessary property much quicker than state transportation leaders.  Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2012.

The County is also hoping to secure $46.5 million in state bonds set aside for Highway 99 improvements, and in order to obtain this ...

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The use of "government stimulus" spending to spur economic growth has been a point of heated political controversy for the past several years.  A proposal outlined by President Obama over the weekend involves spending $50 billion on the nation's transportation infrastructure, focusing on the aging highway system, rail lines, and airports. 

According to a September 7 Wall Street Journal article by Gary Fields, "Obama in Infrastructure Push,"

At a Labor Day rally in Milwaukee, Mr. Obama said the initiative would be part of a larger effort to fix 150,000 miles of roads, lay or rebuild ...

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From 1901 to 1961, the Pacific Electric Railway -- or the "Red Car" -- operated as one of Southern California's primary mass transit options, connecting Orange and Los Angeles Counties in a large series of rail corridors.  Now, officials are examining ways to reuse the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor, an abandoned 20-mile rail corridor running from Santa Ana to Paramount. 

According to a June 14 Orange County Register article, "Is reusing the old Pacific Electric Railway a possibility?, the hope is that someone can find a way to use the abandoned rail line to ...

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The City of Newport Beach is working on a plan to widen Jamboree Boulevard adjacent to State Route 73 (the northern end of the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road).   The city has acquired much of the property needed for the larger right-of-way, but has not been able to reach agreement with the owner of the Back Bay Court shopping center.   On Tuesday night, the city authorized proceeding with an eminent domain action to acquire the property.

According to a June 9 Orange County Register article by Jeff Overley, "City OKs using eminent domain on mini-mall" ...

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain in California. We cover all aspects of eminent domain in California, including condemnation, inverse condemnation, and regulatory takings. We also keep track of current cases, project announcements, budget issues, legislative reform efforts, and report on all major California eminent domain conferences and seminars.

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