13 landowners along the Katy Trail awarded $410,000

The U.S. government must pay $410,000 to 13 landowners whose property was used to build a 225-mile hiking and biking trail in Missouri, a federal court has ruled.

Total awards could reach $10 million by the time the court determines compensation for 285 more landowners with property along the Katy Trail who have claims pending, said Gary Heldt, a spokesman for the landowners.

The state operates and maintains the Katy Trail, which was developed along the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad corridor. The federal government is responsible for paying the awards because the trail was built under guidelines of the national Rails to Trails Act, Heldt said. The act allows abandoned railroad property to be turned over to state or local government for use as trails.

An earlier Court of Claims ruling found that landowners were entitled to compensation, because under Missouri law, abandoned railroad easements revert to landowners.

Read the Washington Post for the rest of the story.

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