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Background The nationâs freight, intercity passenger, and commuter rail operators need a comprehensive source of informa- tion that can provide authoritatively researched, spe- cific, limited-scope studies of legal issues and problems having national significance and application to rail transportation. The complex interaction among opera- tors, institutional entities at all levels of government, and private and public sectors creates a multi-level institutional configuration affecting rail system plan- ning and operation. To meet similar needs in the highway area, the Trans- portation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine inaugurated a legal research project in 1969 under the National Coop- erative Highway Research Program. The highway legal project has been funded continuously since that time, eliciting strong support and approval from the constitu- ency it serves. Similarly, a transit legal research project was implemented in 1992 under the Transit Coopera- tive Research Program and that project has continued since its inception. Finally, an airport legal research project was implemented in 2006 under the Airport Cooperative Research Program and continues today. Each year, numerous attorneys nationwide are involved in rail-related work, yet there is no central- ized repository of legal resources on which they can depend. In response, the National Cooperative Rail Research Programâs (NCRRP) Legal Research Digest series has been initiated to provide rail-related research on a wide variety of legal topics. Legal Research Digest 3 NATIONAL COOPERATIVE RAIL RESEARCH PROGRAM February 2016 ISSUES THAT EMERGE WHEN PUBLIC ENTITIES ACQUIRE A REAL PROPERTY INTEREST IN RAIL LINES This report was prepared under NCRRP Project 12-01, Topic 02, âLegal Aspects of Rail Programs,â for which the Transportation Research Board is the agency coordinating the research. The report was prepared by Charles A. Spitulnik, Allison I. Fultz, and Christian L. Alexander, Kaplan Kirsch and Rockwell, LLP, Washington, DC. Responsible Senior Program Officer: Lawrence D. Goldstein Applications This legal research digest presents potential issues and solutions that may emerge when state and local gov- ernments seek to acquire real property interests from an operating railroad in active rail corridors. The dis- cussion is presented in two parts: 1. An exposition of the issues and rationale that might arise in the planning for and implementa- tion of a transaction that involves acquisition of real property in an active rail corridor. 2. An annotated term sheet template for pursuit of the transaction. The desire for acquisition usually grows out of recogni- tion of the need to create a new or improved transit system along a fixed guideway designed to alleviate increasing traffic congestion and improve deteriorating environmental conditions in the local and broader com- munity. These real estate transactions, although they might appear to be routine, are not and involve dealing with complexities unique to property owned and used by operating railroads. The term sheet offers options for a variety of approaches to facilitate application in response to specific project characteristics. It also provides refer- ences and examples to illustrate real-world applications. It is important to recognize that case law is continuously evolving, and any application building on the material contained in this digest should also examine experi- ences that occur after publication. Case law also varies by jurisdiction, and possible variations should always be researched and considered when using this resource. LRD 3 RAILcover_final.indd 1 1/20/16 4:09 PM