Plan Bay Area Analyzed In Depth

TRANSDEF submitted its comments today on Plan Bay Area, the regional transportation plan for the Bay Area. A condensed version for policymakers was submitted earlier. Here’s a summary of the top points about the Draft EIR: Read More...

Tos II Case Progresses

A hearing was held on April 26 on CHSRA’s Demurrer. The Court’s tentative ruling denied the motion for preliminary injunction and sustained the demurrer. At the hearing, the Court adopted the ruling on the motion for preliminary injunction, and took the demurrer under submission. The final ruling adopted the tentative ruling sustaining the demurrer, effectively knocking the case out of court, but granted leave to amend the Petition.

Plaintiffs filed a
Second Amended Petition on May 25, in response. After the announcement of the Federal Transit Administration grant to Caltrain for its Electrification Project in May, 2017, the Director of the Department of Finance issued a letter authorizing CHSRA to obligate $713 million in bond funds for Caltrain.

Disappointment in ARB Case

After three years of hard work, TRANSDEF’s challenge to the California Air Resources Board’s adoption of its 2014 Scoping Plan was rejected today by the Court. Disappointingly, the decision was based purely on the technical, procedural objections brought by ARB. ARB never defended its decision to include a GHG-increasing measure in a plan intended to reduce GHGs.

In oral argument, TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, proposed a new way to look at CEQA GHG impacts--one that we have not heard being used before: Because of the global climate change tipping point being close to the present, he distinguished near-term GHG emissions as being far more significant an impact than emissions occurring after the tipping point has been passed. While a very strong argument, the Court ruled that TRANSDEF’s comments had not made that point, so that we were barred from litigating it. We suggest this issue be raised in future cases.

Change in Plans: Big Fireworks in Court April 18 & 19

All the briefs have now been filed in Tos II, a legal challenge to the constitutionality of AB 1889, the 2016 law that the High-Speed Rail Authority is relying on to claim eligibility for Proposition 1A bond funds for construction of its Central Valley segment.

The hearing scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, at 9:00 in Department 54 in Sacramento Superior Court (in the Hall of Justice on 6th St., which is separate from the court complex), and the hearing scheduled for April 19 at 11:00 in the same courtroom have both been postponed.

They have both been rescheduled to April 26 at 11:00 am.

The court will hear argument then on the Authority’s Demurrer and Motion to Strike Allegations, which seek to terminate the
Tos litigation. It will simultaneously consider the motion for a Preliminary Injunction to block the use of funds for construction.

Under court rules, a tentative decision may be posted on the court’s
website at 2:00 the day before the hearing. Enter the hearing date and Department 54.

ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed

The Air Resources Board produces a Scoping Plan every 5 years. It is the guiding document for the GHG emissions reductions needed to implement California’s climate policy. TRANSDEF submitted a massive comment set, made up of 1). General Comments; 2). VMT Reduction Comments, Attachment: Comments on State-level Strategies; 3). Environmental Assessment Comments, Attachment: Comments on CHSRA 2016 Business Plan; and 4). Comments on Regional Emissions Reduction Targets. For more climate change resources, see this page.

Oral Argument Scheduled

Oral argument in our challenge to the Surface Transportation Board’s Declaratory Order that preempts CEQA actions from challenging the HSR project, is being rescheduled to June or July. A hearing will not be held on April 18.