TRANSDEF Files Caltrain Electrification Lawsuit

TRANSDEF Files Caltrain Electrification Lawsuit 02/09/15 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Transportation Planning TRANSDEF today joined in two litigation coalitions to file suit. In the first lawsuit, it joined the Town of Atherton and the Community Coalition on  High-Speed Rail to challenge the Caltrain electrification EIR. TRANSDEF’s concern here is that spending $1.5 billion on electrification will not do much to help ridership. That same money would have a much bigger effect on ridership if it were spent to build the Caltrain Downtown Extension to the Transbay Transit Center. Worse, by trading its current surplus capacity to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for electrification funding,  it places a cap on its future ridership. In an era of climate change,…

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Supreme Court Turns Us Down

Supreme Court Turns Us Down 10/15/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail In a very disappointing decision, the California Supreme Court today denied the Petitions for Review by the Tos petitioners, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the First Free Will Baptist Church on the Third Circuit High Speed Rail rulings in a case titled California High-Speed Rail Authority v. Superior Court. Stuart Flashman, counsel for the Tos petitioners, said, “My clients are obviously extremely disappointed in this decision. The Court of Appeal’s decision, which the Supreme Court has now let stand, means voters can no longer trust promises made in bond measures or tax measures.” Michael Brady, lead counsel for the Tos petitioners, said “The Court…

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CHSRA Declares Independence from CEQA

CHSRA Declares Independence from CEQA 10/09/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail In a move that screams desperation, the California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board for a declaratory order that would prevent any California court from issuing an injunction to stop the construction of the Fresno-Bakersfield portion of the project. CHSRA wants to hide behind federal preemption. See this page. By running to the feds for protection, CHSRA has told the world it cannot and will not play by California rules. In an earlier move seeking to protect its claim to federal preemption of environmental laws, CHSRA asked the Supreme Court to depublish the appellate decision in Town of Atherton…

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Supreme Court Hears from Far and Wide

Supreme Court Hears from Far and Wide 10/03/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail After receiving an Answer from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, petitioners for review filed their replies. A large group of distinguished organizations, elected officials and governmental entities filed amicus curiae letters with the Supreme Court, requesting that it review the HSR cases. See this page. Tags: HSR Litigation

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TRAC Ideas Exposed in the Bee

TRAC Ideas Exposed in the Bee 09/29/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Transportation Planning The Train Riders Association of California, TRAC, got the opportunity to put its ideas out in the State Capital’s leading newspaper, the Sacramento Bee. Hopefully, it will strike a chord with political leaders. Here’s the link to the Viewpoint article. Tags: TRAC

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CHSRA Blocked by Mountains

CHSRA Blocked by Mountains 09/27/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The Bakersfield Californian broke a striking story today about previously undisclosed problems getting over the Tehachapis. The serious problems in finding an acceptable route could result in a dramatic increase in cost. They could also force a slowing down of the train, which could result in the statewide project becoming infeasible because of not meeting the required 2 hour 40 trip time from SF to LA. An internal report to the CHSRA disclosed that the grades of the route over the Tehachapis are so steep that they exceed the Authority’s standards,…

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CHSRA Tries to Ditch CEQA

CHSRA Tries to Ditch CEQA 09/22/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail After losing part of an appellate decision, the California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a request with the California Supreme Court today, asking it to depublish the 7/31/14 ruling. That would mean no other court could consider the ruling to be precedent, thereby making it easier to argue that CEQA doesn’t apply to railroad projects that are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Surface Transportation Board. All the papers are posted at the bottom of this page. Tags: HSR Litigation, CEQA, Preemption

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Wall Street Journal Editorial on HSR Case

Wall Street Journal Editorial on HSR Case 09/13/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail In a stunning editorial entitled California’s Democratic Derailment, the Wall Street Journal calls upon the California Supreme Court to save democracy by overturning the appellate decision that declared the CHSRA’s violation of Proposition 1A unenforceable: The Wall Street Journal/ Opinion, Sept. 13, 2014)   California’s Democratic Derailment Politicians ignore the legal caveats that voters added to the bullet train   In theory at least, courts and ballot referenda are checks on legislative tyranny. A California appellate court has effectively done away with both by ruling that the legal…

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TRAC Opposes Palmdale Focus

TRAC Opposes Palmdale Focus 09/04/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Transportation Planning The TRAC Board of Directors adopted a Resolution opposing the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s new-found interest in the Palmdale to Burbank route. Instead, the Resolution proposes that the funding available for HSR be used to create benefits for passengers in the near-term. Tags: TRAC

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HSR Opponents Seek Supreme Court Review

HSR Opponents Seek Supreme Court Review 09/02/14 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Attorneys challenging the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s bond funding presented a press conference today to explain the petition they filed  or will be filing with the California Supreme Court. The petitions ask the Supreme Court to review the Third District Court of Appeal decision  overturning two trial rulings that had hamstrung Californiaʼs High-Speed Rail project. The Appellate Court had 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.” The Court also held that no evidence was needed to show that it was “necessary or desirable” to…

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