Killer Ruling on HSR Compliance
08/16/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail
Court Rules High-Speed Rail Not Compliant with Bond Measure
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny issued a ruling Friday that the Funding Plan for the $8 billion High-Speed Rail project in the Central Valley is legally defective because it fails to meet the requirements of Proposition 1A, the High-Speed Rail Bond measure. The landmark case, Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority, was filed by a farmer, a rural homeowner and Kings County.
The Court agreed that the Authority’s Funding Plan failed to validly certify that for the Merced to San Fernando Valley segment of the project, all environmental clearances had been completed and that sufficient funding sources to complete the segment had been identified. Further briefing was ordered to determine the appropriate remedy.
Proposition 1A included an elaborate set of requirements to protect taxpayers from having to pay for a money-losing unfinished project. The ruling could block the expenditure of high-speed rail bond funds and bring the Authority’s project to an abrupt halt.
Attorney Stuart Flashman, who successfully argued the case, said “When Californians narrowly approved Proposition 1A in 2008, they were by no means writing the Authority a blank check. There were numerous requirements that had to be met before the bond funds could be spent. The Authority will need to go back and do things right. If the Governor and the Authority don’t like these requirements, they’d need the the voters’ approval to change them.”
Lead counsel Michael Brady said “Prop 1A contains such strict safeguards that the Authority may not be able to comply at all, in which event the HSR project may never go forward.”
Click here for the Court’s ruling and all the briefing.
Dan Walters wrote a powerful piece “Court case may derail California’s bullet train” explaining the significance of the ruling.