Over 4 million people currently live in the Puget Sound area in Washington state, and about 6 million people are expected to reside in the area by 2050. Additionally, Seattle renters faced a 71.2% increase in rent prices from 2010 to 2019. This data supports the need for much of the congested Seattle population to move outward and commute into the city for work. The implementation of a 116-mile system and other efforts to increase public transportation makes this need achievable and affordable.
This Comment focuses on the issue of just compensation in eminent domain; specifically, unique questions of compensation in cases where Sound Transit is the condemner. The first issue is the unaccounted for costs and burdens associated with a phased construction easement for which a property owner is not justly compensated. The second issue is Sound Transit’s overreliance on the project influence rule to determine the fair market value of a property as significantly lower than its true value.
This Comment will address who is affected by Sound Transit’s eminent domain powers, how eminent domain works, the meaning and assessment of just compensation, and the two specific issues of just compensation that have arisen from Sound Transit’s use of eminent domain.
Natalie Crane, Property Owners Look Out: The Train Is Coming, 44 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 817 (2021).
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