High Speed Rail–An Overview
TRANSDEF has long been a supporter of High-Speed Rail (HSR). We believe that building HSR is the best way to provide connectivity between California’s regions. It will encourage land use plans to emphasize proximity to transit and minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the goals of SB 375. HSR is an important part of California’s strategy for the future.
That said, TRANSDEF has consistently been opposed to the specific project proceeding in California. The very fact that the project has not attracted any private investment is damning proof that it is the result of political compromises that will prevent it from attracting enough ridership to pay its operating costs. We are convinced that stopping this project is the only way to keep the public from being soured on supporting statewide rail projects. In the pages below, you’ll see the years of obstacles the California Attorney General employed to block our coalition from getting its day in court, stretching all the way back to 2011:
Fresno-Bakersfield EIR Challenges–Two counties, a city, two non-profits and a partnership challenge the project-level FEIR for this section of the HSR project. These cases had been on hold, but are now proceeding, after the California Supreme Court determined that federal law does not preempt CEQA for state-owned rail projects.
Tos II Lawsuit Part II-A taxpayer lawsuit asserting that CHSRA’s Funding Plans, seeking bond money for construction, rely on an unconstitutional law, AB 1889.
Proposition 1A Campaign–a few souvenirs from the campaign. The measure won 52% of the vote.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has made a total mess of its assigned responsibility by politicizing what should have been a straightforward project. It has wasted billions of dollars on a system that cannot be built.
TRANSDEF’s 2013 proposal for how to fix the mess.
Atherton I Lawsuit–our coalition’s first challenge of the CHSRA’s Bay Area to Central Valley Environmental review
Ridership Challenge–our coalition’s challenge of a secret change in the ridership model that penalized Altamont ridership
Atherton II Lawsuit–our coalition’s second challenge of the CHSRA’s Bay Area to Central Valley Environmental review
Atherton II Appeal–our coalition’s appeal of the ridership and alternatives parts of the final ruling, in which the federal preemption of CEQA unexpectedly came up
Atherton III Lawsuit–our coalition’s third challenge of of the CHSRA’s Bay Area to Central Valley Environmental review
Tos Lawsuit Part I–a taxpayer lawsuit asserting that the CHSRA project does not qualify for Prop. 1A HSR bond funds. This case resulted in a major victory by our coalition, which was later overturned by the Court of Appeal.
Extraordinary Writ–CHSRA’s attempt to get around decisions in the Tos and Validation cases by petitioning the California Supreme Court
Supreme Court–Our coalition petitioned the Supreme Court for review of the Appellate Court decision
Validation Suit– CHSRA’s attempt at getting a pass on challenges to the sale of HSR bonds
Tos Lawsuit Part II–a taxpayer lawsuit asserting that the CHSRA project does not qualify for Prop. 1A HSR bond funds
Caltrain Electrification EIR Challenge–TRANSDEF, Atherton and CC-HSR challenge the EIR’s failure to analyze the impacts of HSR on the Caltrain Corridor
ARB Scoping Plan Challenge–TRANSDEF sued the Air Resources Board for its inclusion of HSR as a GHG emissions reduction measure.
Appeal of STB’s Order declaring that CEQA is entirely preempted for the HSR project
Tos II Lawsuit-Part I–A taxpayer lawsuit asserting that CHSRA’s Funding Plans, seeking bond money for construction, rely on an unconstitutional law, AB 1889. Part I involved intensive motion practice by CHSRA to delay or get the case thrown out of court.
Other HSR Plans
New Altamont Alignment–TRANSDEF and its ally hired a French HSR consulting firm to design a new Altamont route.
TRANSDEF recommends the website of the California Rail Foundation for its thoughtful analyses of how an HSR system should be designed.
The Train Riders Association of California adopted a Resolution advocating a Plan B for HSR in California. Its California Rail News carries up-to-date information on the HSR project, as well as many other rail projects.