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South Dakota enacts bill to speed land condemnation process


Among more than a dozen bills that gained his signature last week, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed into law legislation that will speed the land condemnation process for railroads.

The new law calls for a hearing and decision within 90 days of a railroad's request to condemn land. The state previously set no timetable to reach a decision in a condemnation case. Eminent domain decisions are made by the governor or state transportation commission.

The law might help the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad Corp. during the land acquisition process for its proposed Powder River Basin line. The railroad — which will be acquired by Canadian Pacific Railway later this year if the Surface Transportation Board approves the marriage — expects to build a 262-mile line through western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrade 600 miles in South Dakota and Minnesota to access the basin.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/18/2008