Allies Challenge AB 1899’s Constitutionality

Allies Challenge AB 1899’s Constitutionality

01/31/17 Filed in:

Five individuals, three non-profit organizations, the Town of Atherton and Kings County amended their lawsuit today, seeking a ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (CHSRA) efforts to obtain construction funding from a voter-approved bond measure violate the state constitution. The case is the second one filed as Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority, or Tos II. Legal papers are available

The Third District Court of Appeal had previously ruled that Prop. 1A, the 2008 $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond measure, created a “financial straitjacket” restricting the use of the bond funds. Plaintiffs allege in their suit that the Legislature’s passage of AB 1889 created a tool that attempts to evade the bond measure’s restrictions.

However, because AB 1889 fundamentally alters that voter-approved measure, plaintiffs allege it is unconstitutional, as are the funding plans that rely
on it. Newly added as a plaintiff is retired judge and former CHSRA Chair Quentin Kopp, who helped write Prop. 1A and has joined the case to defend that measure as the voters approved it.

Plaintiff co-counsel Stuart Flashman said, “The High-Speed Rail Authority has approved funding plans that rely on AB 1889 to undermine the clear voter-enacted restrictions built into Proposition 1A.”

The Amended Complaint is in response to the threatened filing of a demurrer by CHSRA. Narrowing the issues to a facial challenge to the constitutionality of AB 1889 and CHSRA’s illegal use of public funds will allow for a much speedier resolution of the claims.

The plaintiffs are John Tos, Judge Quentin Kopp (Retired), Town of Atherton, Kings County, Morris Brown, Patricia Louise Hogan-Giorni, Anthony Wynne, Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, and California Rail Foundation.

For an analysis of the financial consequences of a victory in this case, see “The Impending Death of California’s HSR Authority” on page 3 of the California Rail News.

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