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." Read More...

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!

Six Challenges to Fresno-Bakersfield FEIR

TRANSDEF has collected the six petitions that challenge the Fresno-Bakersfield project level FEIR. The show begins...

MTC Wants to Bury Dumbarton Rail

The staff report for MTC’s Planning and Allocations meeting, Wednesday, May 14 at 9:40 am lays out MTC's plans to bury the Dumbarton Rail project. Transit advocates have often noted that this project is the only possible way to avoid the cost of a new multibillion Transbay tunnel to deal with the lack of capacity in BART's Transbay tube. On April 23, TRANSDEF filed comments [this file without exhibits] with MTC, asserting legal arguments for why the proposed elimination of Regional Measure 2 funding for the Dumbarton Rail Project would be both illegal and unwise. [Comment file with the full set of exhibits.] Read More...

Appeals to be heard in May

Oral argument on three cases involving the CA HSR Authority will be heard by the Court of Appeal in Sacramento in May. The Town of Atherton appeal will be heard at 2:00 on Tuesday, May 20. The Extraordinary Writ for both the Tos case and the Validation case will be heard at 9:30 on Friday, May 23. The Court is located at 914 Capitol Mall, Sacramento.