High-Speed Rail

High Speed Rail–An Overview

TRANSDEF has long been a supporter of High-Speed Rail (HSR). We believe that building HSR is the best way to provide connectivity between California’s regions. It will encourage land use plans to emphasize proximity to transit and minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the goals of SB 375. HSR is an important part of California’s strategy for the future.

That said, TRANSDEF has consistently been opposed to the specific project proceeding in California. The very fact that the project has not attracted any private investment is damning proof that it is the result of political compromises that will prevent it from attracting enough ridership to pay its operating costs. We are convinced that stopping this project is the only way to keep the public from being soured on supporting statewide rail projects.

Current Lawsuits
Fresno-Bakersfield EIR Challenges–Two counties, a city, two non-profits and a partnership challenge the project-level FEIR for this section of the HSR project. These cases had been on hold, but are now proceeding, after the California Supreme Court determined that federal law does not preempt CEQA for state-owned rail projects.

Tos II Lawsuit–A taxpayer lawsuit asserting that CHSRA’s Funding Plans, seeking bond money for construction, rely on an unconstitutional law, AB 1889.

Background Information

Proposition 1A Voter Guide

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has made a total mess of its assigned responsibility by politicizing what should have been a straightforward project. It has wasted billions of dollars on a system that cannot be built.

TRANSDEF’s 2013 proposal for how to fix the mess.

Earlier Lawsuits
Atherton I  Lawsuit–our coalition’s first challenge of the CHSRA’s Bay Area to Central Valley Environmental review Ridership Challenge–our coalition’s challenge of a secret change in the ridership model that penalized Altamont ridership

Atherton II  Lawsuit–our coalition’s second challenge of the CHSRA’s Bay Area to Central Valley Environmental review

Atherton II Appeal–our coalition’s appeal of the ridership and alternatives parts of the final ruling, in which the federal preemption of CEQA unexpectedly came up

Atherton III  Lawsuit–our coalition’s third challenge of of the CHSRA’s Bay Area to Central Valley Environmental review

Tos  Lawsuit Part I–a taxpayer lawsuit asserting that the CHSRA project does not qualify for Prop. 1A HSR bond funds

Validation Suit– CHSRA’s attempt at getting a pass on challenges to the sale of HSR bonds

Extraordinary Writ–CHSRA’s attempt to get around decisions in the Tos and Validation cases by petitioning the California Supreme Court

Tos  Lawsuit Part II–a taxpayer lawsuit asserting that the CHSRA project does not qualify for Prop. 1A HSR bond funds

Caltrain Electrification EIR Challenge–TRANSDEF, Atherton and CC-HSR challenge the EIR’s failure to analyze the impacts of HSR on the Caltrain Corridor

ARB Scoping Plan Challenge–TRANSDEF sued the Air Resources Board for its inclusion of HSR as a GHG emissions reduction measure.

Appeal of STB’s Order declaring that CEQA is entirely preempted for the HSR project

Other HSR Plans
New Altamont Alignment–TRANSDEF and its ally hired a French HSR consulting firm to design a new Altamont route.

TRANSDEF recommends the website of the California Rail Foundation for its thoughtful analyses of how an HSR system should be designed.

The Train Riders Association of California adopted a Resolution advocating a Plan B for HSR in California. Its California Rail News carries up-to-date information on the HSR project, as well as many other rail projects.

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