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Eminent Domain: Information about Its Uses and Effect on Property Owners and Communities Is Limited

GAO-07-28 Published: Nov 30, 2006. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2006.
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In the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006, Congress mandated that GAO conduct a nationwide study on the use of eminent domain by state and local governments. This report provides information on (1) the purposes for and extent to which eminent domain can be and has been used; (2) the process states and select localities across the country use to acquire land, including by eminent domain; (3) how the use of eminent domain has affected individuals and communities in select localities; and (4) the changes state legislatures made to laws governing the use of eminent domain from June 2005 through July 2006. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed relevant provisions in federal, state, and local laws; conducted site visits to various redevelopment projects where eminent domain was used; and interviewed multiple national associations of local and state government officials and planning professionals, national public interest groups, and national property rights groups to gain their perspectives on the use of eminent domain and its effect on communities and property owners. The Department of Transportation provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which have been incorporated where appropriate.

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