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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TRANSDEF offers National Transit Database statistics

TRANSDEF is pleased to offer the work of economist Mike Arnold, who has created visualizations of relevant national and regional data. This data is especially important to the transit industry as passengers start returning from a year of avoiding transit in response to the pandemic. We plan to update this information monthly. There are 15 pages of slides and text. Please click the Zoom (+) button at the bottom for an optimal viewing.  

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TRAC files STB response, challenging transfer of freight rights to SMART

In response to the threats to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP, which spans over 300 miles from Larkspur Landing in Marin County to Samoa in Humboldt County), the Train Riders Association of California (TRAC) took action today based on its letter to Senator McGuire about his Great Redwood Trail Bill, SB 69.  TRAC filed comments with the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal regulatory agency that governs railroad legal matters. (The bookmarked comments are a 20 Mb. download.) Today’s action opposes the request of the current freight operator on the NWP, which is named NWPCO, to have the transfer of…

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NCRA’s Lame Response

The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) finally responded to TRANSDEF’s demand letter, but its response was lame. Descending into belittlement and disparagement, NCRA’s lawyer huffed and puffed, to dance around the fact that he was unable to offer a valid citation to legal authority for NCRA’s Board action to railbank the line north of Willits. TRANSDEF sent a further demand, after receiving this letter.

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Stopping NCRA from tearing up its RR tracks

A Bay Area environmental group is seeking to save the rail tracks in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties from being torn out. The Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, TRANSDEF, sent a letter to the North Coast Railroad Authority demanding that the NCRA Board rescind the action it took last month. TRANSDEF asserted that the Board had no legal authority to direct its staff to begin the process of abandoning the railroad and turning it into a trail, in a process called railbanking. Railbanking means tearing out the tracks while claiming that the railroad can be restored in the future. North…

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RM3 now before CA Supreme Court–Update 1

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court in August 2020. The Petition asserts that prior to Proposition 26, a clear body of law differentiated between taxes and fees. Whereas the Proposition was enacted to close several loopholes, the Court of Appeal decision opened up a brand-new huge loophole that would allow any fee for access to public property to be imposed without a two-thirds vote. In addition, the Petition points out that a different division of the same Court of Appeal had issued a ruling (Zolly v. City of Oakland) that…

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Brighter days for RM3 litigation?

Appellant Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a Petition for Rehearing with the Court of Appeal.  Although the Petition offered a brilliant new argument, the Court denied the petition. It is expected that the Appellant will seek review by the California Supreme Court.

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