Supreme Court passes on reviewing Tos decision

On March 16, 2022, the California Supreme Court denied the Tos appellants’ Petition for Review. This marks the end of a very long fight–one that started back in 2011. The tenacious litigants (John Tos, Quentin Kopp, the Town of Atherton,  Patricia Hogan-Giorni, Anthony Wynne, Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, and California Rail Foundation) persevered despite the unlimited legal resources available to the other side.  The Petition for Review The Answer by the State of California and California High-Speed Rail Authority The Reply to Answer

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Court of Appeal issues disappointing Opinion

On November 30, 2021, the Court released its Opinion in Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority affirming the lower court ruling. This was a tremendous disappointment, given the ten years of litigation leading up to this moment. Here’s the background: On December 13, 2016, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, CHSRA, met and gave preliminary approval to submit funding plans seeking $3.2 billion in HSR bond funding for the San Francisco to San Jose Peninsula Corridor project (the Caltrain Electrification project) and Central Valley HSR project. The same day, four individuals, three non-profit organizations, the Town of Atherton and Kings County filed a lawsuit,…

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TRAC comments on HSR Business Plan punch hard

The Train Riders Association of California, now led by TRANSDEF’s President David Schonbrunn, filed comments on the 2020 HSR Business Plan. It identified the infeasibility of building anything beyond the Governor’s proposed Merced-to-Bakersfield line, and identified far worthier rail investments instead of building that. Interestingly, the Transportation Committee Chair of the State Assembly has introduced HR-97, a resolution that would instruct CHSRA to not sign any contracts for track, signals and electrification, or a vehicle procurement, prior to getting funding approval from the Assembly. The bipartisan cosponsors make up more than a majority of the Assembly, so it looks like…

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High-Speed Rail releases Project Update

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) just released its 2019 Project Update Report. This $20 billion plan would provide HSR service between Bakersfield and Merced. That’s $15 billion more than the $5 billion that have already been spent. These numbers goes so far beyond the world of ordinary transportation projects as to verge on self-parody or an extremely elaborate hoax. TRANSDEF does not consider the Project Update Report to be a credible transportation plan. No rail professional in Europe or Asia would ever present a proposal so over the top. Here are TRANSDEF’s observations after a quick read of the…

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Tos II Heading to Court on Slow Boat

The current major lawsuit against CHSRA, Tos II, had a Case Management Conference on Friday. An October 26 court hearing was set for a motion by Plaintiffs seeking a declaratory judgment that AB 1889 is facially unconstitutional. A judgment to that effect would trigger a request by Plaintiffs for an injunction blocking any use of Proposition 1A HSR Bond funds for construction. CHSRA will seek judgment on a cross-motion that AB 1889 is constitutional, so that CHSRA can rely on it in seeking bond funds to continue construction of its HSR project.  This case has been delayed by CHSRA for 17 months. Two demurrers were…

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Takedown of the HSR Business Plan

Edward Ring of the California Policy Institute offers a striking challenge to the financial assumptions in the High-Speed Rail Authority’s 2018 draft Business Plan. He offers a more conservative set of assumptions that result in a negative cash flow for operations out to the year 2059. A project like that simply is not financeable. While TRANSDEF does not agree with the author’s assumptions about boarding and travel-to-station times, we very much agree that this HSR project will not be affordable for commuting. We are convinced that the promotion of HSR as the solution to the commute woes of Central Valley…

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Flawed HSR Designs Pose Derailment Risk

Susan MacAdams, the former HSR Planning Manager for LA Metro, wrote to Brian Kelly, CEO of the California HSR Authority, today. In her Request For an Immediate Stop Work Order, she identified serious safety risks in the design of the structures now under construction in Fresno: “the design for the track curves across the Herndon Overpass structure north of Fresno is a public safety hazard and poses a serious threat to derailment.”   Summary: Combining a horizontal spiral that increases from zero to six inches of super-elevation with a maximum grade vertical curve built on top of a transitional structural support system in a geographical…

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Tos II Case Progresses

Tos II Case Progresses 05/25/17 Filed in: High-Speed Rail 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…

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