HSRA seeks federal protection from lawsuits

HSRA seeks federal protection from lawsuits 08/09/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail  The California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a brief today asking the State Court of Appeal to dismiss the Atherton petitioners’ appeal on the grounds that the federal Surface Transportation Board had asserted federal jurisdiction over its project. This brief involved a massive amount of gall, seeing as the High-Speed Rail Authority had not applied to the STB for permission to construct its project until very recently, long after all the briefing in this case had been filed. All materials related to the appeal are available here. Tags: CEQA, HSR Litigation

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Historic Court Hearing on May 31

Historic Court Hearing on May 31 05/27/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Department 31 of Sacramento Superior Court will be the location of the oral argument scheduled for 9 am on Friday, May 31, 2013 in the case Tos v.  California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Tos plaintiffs, two farmers and Kings County, are asking the Court to declare that the Authority has failed to meet the statutory requirements of Proposition 1A. Two out of ten claims asserted by the plaintiffs will be argued on Friday, with the balance to be considered after a decision is issued. Plaintiffs assert the Authority’s Funding Plan failed to validly certify that for the Merced to San Fernando Valley segment of…

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TRANSDEF Comments on Plan Bay Area

TRANSDEF Comments on Plan Bay Area 05/15/13 Filed in: Transportation Planning | MTC | Climate Change TRANSDEF filed comments on the Bay Area’s Draft Sustainable Communities Strategy today. By a fascinating coincidence, U.S. PIRG released its study today, called A New Direction, which is directly relevant to how to approach a regional transportation plan. This study points out the transportation planning consequences of the emerging pattern of millennials driving less. These documents are available here. Tags: CEQA, RTP

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Atherton Appeal Now Submitted

Atherton Appeal Now Submitted 01/25/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The briefs in the Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority appeal have now been submitted to the Court of Appeal. They are posted at the bottom of this page. The next step will be Oral Argument at the Court of Appeal. This case is significant, in that a victory for Appellants could invalidate the ridership model, which is the foundation of all the EIRs the CHSRA will rely on for its Central Valley project. It could also force a whole new EIR, which would review the alternative of an Altamont Corridor in a less- biased manner. Tags: HSR Litigation

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TRANSDEF Presents at Annual TRAC Meeting

TRANSDEF Presents at Annual TRAC Meeting 10/27/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The 2012 Annual Conference of the Trainriders Association of California was held in Berkeley today. TRANSDEF was invited to co-present the keynote address, along with the Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) on the topic of Where is High-Speed Rail Going in the Near Term? Elizabeth Alexis of CARRD began with a presentation which laid out the complete picture of what is funded to proceed in the next few years. David Schonbrunn of TRANSDEF then delivered an explanation of why rail advocates are suing CHSRA, entitled Fighting for What Could Be. Directly relevant to the Opposition brief filed in Atherton III, Caltrain’s Marion Lee presented a…

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Our Legal Team Has Been Busy

Our Legal Team Has Been Busy 10/17/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Round 2 On October 15, 2012, petitioners in the Atherton I and Atherton II cases filed their Appellants Opening Brief, challenging several elements of a  largely favorable court ruling back in February. For the brief, and details, see this page. Round 3 Two days later, our team filed an Objection to the Authority’s Return on the Writ. This is a procedure in which the High-Speed Rail Authority,  represented by the Attorney General’s office, is seeking to demonstrate that it has completed a series of actions ordered by the Court, back in February. The Authority claims that its April 2012 Partially Revised Final Program EIR complies…

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SNCF Presentation Revealed!

SNCF Presentation Revealed! 07/12/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Now that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is doing everything possible to discredit and bury the story of the proposal by the French National Railways, SNCF, the time has come to show the world what all the hubbub is about. The SNCF Powerpoint addresses what SNCF saw as the key weakness of the CHSRA project–its insistence on building the initial system without private capital and without the direct involvement of a firm with HSR operating experience. The presentation suggests CHSRA use the structure of a Pre-Development Agreement to bring an experienced operator…

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The Empire Strkes Back

The Empire Strkes Back 07/12/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The LA Times’ story on the French National Railways, SNCF, presentation has stirred up a hornet’s nest of reaction. CHSRA apologist Robert Cruickshank’s site CAHSR blog carried a scathing condemnation of the LA Times story, along with the exclusive release of CHSRA Board Chair Richard’s letter to the LA Times editor. In response to the stunning levels of vitriol and bad faith, TRANSDEF posted these comments: After first responding to the SNCF story with a deer-in-the-headlights “No comment,” CHSRA is now in full damage control mode. The sheer number of slurs…

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Freelance Journalist Picks Up Secret HSR Story

Freelance Journalist Picks Up Secret HSR Story 07/11/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Check out this piece published yesterday on MarketUrbanism.com by Stephen Smith, freelance journalist, and see his comments at the end. What I learned today about SNCF and California HSR By Stephen Smith, on July 10th, 2012 If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll know that I spent this afternoon on the phone with folks in California, looking into the recent SNCF-CHSRA bombshell. To summarize: SNCF, the highly experienced French national high-speed rail operator, apparently had a plan for California’s HSR network, but was turned off by the highly politicized routing. Namely, they wanted to make a straight shot from LA to San Francisco…

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CHSRA-Apologist Website Dumps on LA Times

CHSRA-Apologist Website Dumps on LA Times 07/10/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Robert Cruickshank, a leading (paid?) apologist for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, wrote a blog post trashing the LA Times SNCF story and its reporter, which generated hundreds of comments, including many suggesting that the I-5 route deserved a closer look. TRANSDEF posted this comment: Robert’s take-down of the messenger (LAT) misses the point entirely. SNCF presented a proposal in conjunction with a U.S. investment bank that was willing to finance the entire LA-SF line. This was a project that made enough business sense to them–it minimized costs while…

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