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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2017 10:27 AM
From: Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: "Quick Take" Condemnation Relief for the Railroad Industry
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to amend Title 15 (Corporations and Unincorporated Associations) regarding “quick take” condemnation relief in the event a public utility company (electric, telephone, gas, oil or petroleum) pursues the power of eminent domain in a railroad’s right-of-way.

Currently, these specified public utility companies may exercise an expedited procedure outside the standard eminent domain process for the occupation of product lines used directly or indirectly in furnishing a service to the public. This practice has been utilized for the construction of utility pipelines underneath an active railroad’s right-of-way, where special safety and operational concerns exist. As a result, there is not an effective means for the railroad industry to challenge the “quick take” procedure prior to the construction of the pipelines to address these issues. The use of “quick take” condemnation proceedings by a public utility company to avoid legitimate safety and operational concerns is detrimental to public safety and contrary to law.

My legislation would provide the railroad industry with the necessary means to ensure public utility companies comply with federal safety regulations and engineering standards in the event a pipeline is proposed or constructed in an active railroad’s right-of-way. At the same time, it would not affect a utility company’s continued ability to utilize the “quick take” process to ensure such pipeline projects do not encounter unnecessary construction delays.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to protect public safety and to facilitate the coexistence between active rail lines and subsurface utility pipelines.

If you have any questions, please contact Nolan Ritchie at nritchie@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB920