Opponents of HSR Strike Back

After the Court of Appeal decision was released, HSR opponents didn’t take the defeat lying down. Instead, they filed two Petitions for Rehearing, asking the Court to reopen the case and allow further briefing and a hearing. Specifically, they claimed that the Court had used legal arguments and case authorities that hadn’t been briefed by the parties. Under these circumstances, they are entitled to a rehearing. See the petitions at the bottom of this page.

Court of Appeal Hits HSR Critics Hard

The Third District Court of Appeal issued rulings in the Atherton II appeal and the Authority’s Extraordinary Writ petition recently. Both of them were very hard on HSR critics. See the posts at the bottom of the pages for links to the rulings and brief explanations.

COURT OF APPEAL ALLOWS HIGH-SPEED RAIL TO VIOLATE BOND MEASURE

The Third District Court of Appeal late yesterday overturned two trial rulings that had hamstrung California’s still-embattled High-Speed Rail project. The Court ruled that "The Legislature appropriated the bond proceeds based on the preliminary funding plan, however deficient, and there is no present duty to redo the plan."

Plaintiff's lead counsel, Michael Brady, was disappointed with the ruling. He said "The voters approved Proposition 1A only because it included stringent requirements to protect the state from financial risk. The Court ruled that although the project did not meet the requirements, taxpayers have no remedy now. They can only sue after many more tens of millions of dollars are spent on design and analysis.”

Stuart Flashman, co-counsel added, "The court has essentially allowed the Authority to ignore promises it, and the legislature, made to California’s voters. It bodes ill for voters’ willingness to trust such promises in the future. Supreme Court review appears warranted.”
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Plan Bay Area Court Decision Released

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Grillo issued a ruling today in the Bay Area Citizens v. ABAG challenge to Plan Bay Area. He denied their petition that sought a ruling that the EIR was inadequate. See the decision and the briefing at the bottom of this page. This page also contains the settlement between the MTC and Sierra Club and Communities for a Better Environment.

Suit Challenges HSR Funding: Says It Worsens Climate Change

TRANSDEF, the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, announced that it filed suit in Fresno County Superior Court today challenging the Governor's fallback funding scheme for High-Speed Rail (HSR). HSR was included in the list of measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contained in the Update to the Scoping Plan recently adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The Scoping Plan is California's master strategy for responding to climate change.

TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, commented: “As a former scientist, I was disappointed that ARB ignored the scientific evidence. The huge spike in cement production needed to build all the viaducts and trackways for the Governor’s high-speed rail line will result in greenhouse gas emissions far outstripping any potential benefit from the line. Including high-speed rail in the Scoping Plan runs directly counter to the legislature’s intent in AB 32 and violates the direct mandate of the law."
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Will Sen. De León Take HSR in New Direction?

A striking column by George Skelton suggests that the incoming Senate leader, Richard De León, could set a very different tone with HSR, forcing the Governor to change the project so it finally makes sense.

Superb NYT Opinion Piece on Climate Change

The New York Times today published an amazingly comprehensive and compelling opinion piece by Hank Paulson, the former Treasury Secretary. Paulson speaks to his fellow Republicans, comparing the risks of ignoring climate change to the risks created in financial markets by ignoring the bubble there, which eventually resulted in near-catastrophe. Highly recommended!