Apr 2014

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.

Caltrain Electrification--Has Caltrain Lost its Way?

Caltrain issued its very large Draft Environmental Impact Report for its Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project, which depends on HSR funding to electrify the tracks from San Jose to San Francisco. TRANSDEF filed extensive Comments and Attachments, making the case for studying a fully worked-up DEMU (Dual-mode diesel-electric multiple unit) alternative. This alternative would accomplish many of the goals of the electrification project while remaining within the financial reach of Caltrain, now that HSR seems to be crashing. Because it would eliminate most if not all the proposed electrification that is controversial for a significant portion of the public, it would improve Caltrain’s public support. A policy letter to the Joint Powers Board makes the case that Altamont Corridor access to the Bay Area should be reconsidered and supported, because it would preserve Caltrain’s capacity to grow in the future, and because it would allow Caltrain to determine its own future, independent of the fate of HSR. Read More...

A Flurry of Amicus Briefs Hit Court

Transportation agencies, worried that they could lose their funding from the HSR Bond, filed amicus briefs with the Court of Appeal, as did Sen. Galgiani, the author of AB 3034. The briefs and their replies can be found here.

TRANSDEF Proposes New Approach at TAM

TRANSDEF appeared at the Transportation Authority of Marin to propose a strategic approach to operating the agency. In particular, the time has come to recognize that the era of the single-occupant vehicle is over. There isn’t enough roadway capacity to accommodate all those solo drivers, and there isn’t enough money or right-of-way to feasibly do that. Rather than having a congestion problem, Marin has an expectation problem, in which people expect to be able to drive alone.

Cap and Trade for HSR: Scientifically Worthless

TRANSDEF released its analysis today of the CHSRA’s Contribution of the High-Speed Rail Program to Reducing California's Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels (June 2013). In short, the construction of HSR would generate more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than it would reduce, for at least 2 decades. Because of this, it would be illegal to use cap and trade funds, which are intended to reduce GHGs, to build HSR. Read More...

Court of Appeals to CHSRA: No Way

The Court of Appeal summarily dismissed the CHSRA’s second Petition for Extraordinary Writ of Mandate, saying in effect that there were no legal grounds upon which to grant relief. It is expected that the desperate CHSRA will attempt to get relief from the California Supreme Court, where success is exceedingly unlikely. See all the legal papers.

ARB's Scoping Plan Update

The CA Air Resources Board (ARB) is updating the 2008 Scoping Plan, which laid out the State’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) which cause global climate change. TRANSDEF filed its comments, which stress the need for clarity as to the contribution of the economic recession and higher gasoline prices to the state’s reduced GHG emissions in the past 6 years. The comments call for ARB to remove HSR as a GHG emissions reduction measure, given that it is projected to increase GHGs for decades.