Taxpayer Lawsuit Against HSRA Files New Complaint

Taxpayer Lawsuit Against HSRA Files New Complaint 07/06/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Attorney Michael Brady, representing plaintiffs John Tos, Aaron Fukuda, and Kings County, filed a lawsuit back in November 2011, asserting that no Proposition 1A funds could legally be spent on the proposed Central Valley project by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Authority  struck back and asked the Court to dismiss the lawsuit in a motion called a Demurrer. After the Court sustained the Demurrer with leave to amend on June 22, Attorney Brady filed a Second Amended Complaint on July 6. Because the  State Senate was debating a funding measure for High-Speed Rail that afternoon, he brought with him one…

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CA Legislature: Know-Nothings Approve HSR Funding

CA Legislature: Know-Nothings Approve HSR Funding 07/06/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Friday’s no-margin majority vote in the CA Senate to fund the $6 billion 130-mile HSR project in the Central Valley was marked by a stunning disconnect between  the majority that passed the budget measure and the members most informed about the project. The majority plugged their ears to the detailed  explanations of the measure’s flaws given by three courageous Democratic Senators and the Republicans. Facts didn’t matter. Senator Simitian of Palo Alto gave the speech of his life. Although a long-time supporter of the concept of High-Speed Rail for California, Simitian’s conclusion was: “This is the wrong plan, in the wrong place, and at…

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HSRA Approves Pacheco Yet Again

HSRA Approves Pacheco Yet Again 04/19/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail On April 19, in accordance with writs issued by the Sacramento Superior Court in response to litigation by TRANSDEF and its allies, the CA High-Speed Rail Authority rescinded its previous certification of the 2010 Revised Final Program EIR for the Bay Area to Central Valley portion of its HST project, and rescinded its approval of the Pacheco route. After that action, the Board certified a Partially Revised Final Program EIR and adopted the Pacheco route. While the result was the same as its 2010 action, this time was different. Authority…

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Senate Holds Fiery HSR Hearing

Senate Holds Fiery HSR Hearing 04/18/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail On April 18, Budget Subcommittee #3 conducted a hearing on High-Speed Rail. Chairman Joe Simitian asked many pointed questions as to the viability of the proposed 130 mile Central Valley project. Compelling testimony from the Legislative Analysts’ Office cast strong doubts on assertions in the HSRA Business Plan that the Authority would be able to access cap and trade revenues as a backstop for 20+ billion in missing funding for its Initial Operating Section (IOS). Without a fully-funded IOS, opponents of the Central Valley project assert that the Authority cannot…

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Another Day, Another HSR Business Plan: First Impressions

Another Day, Another HSR Business Plan: First Impressions 04/02/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Yes, the High-Speed Rail Authority did listen to comments on the last Plan, and yes, they actually did add several desirable elements to the Plan, but in the end, it is still a bad joke: “The key initial operating segment from the Central Valley to the Los Angeles Basis is fully funded.” (p. 7-25) This seemingly good news is new since the last Business Plan. But the punchline is that the newly identified fund source is $20.2 billion from the feds! How fully funded is that, given the current Congress? The Governor claims he can use cap and trade…

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LA Times Covers HSR

LA Times Covers HSR 03/29/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The Los Angeles Times has given excellent coverage to questions about the legality of the HSRA’s Central Valley project. TRANSDEF’s David Schonbrunn was interviewed in this article about the Governor’s attempt to get other environmental groups to go easy on this project. Other HSR articles in the LA Times: A detailed look into whether the blended system would comply with Proposition 1A. Peter Calthorpe’s Vision California vs. right-wing defenders of the status quo. Tags: CEQA, Press

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Hospital Required to Mitigate GHGs

Hospital Required to Mitigate GHGs 03/28/12 Filed in: Climate Change TRANSDEF, along with fellow litigants the Sierra Club and the California Nurses Association, prevailed in a challenge to Sonoma County’s approval of a new Sutter Hospital on the fringe of Santa Rosa. They challenged the Environmental Impact Report as being inadequate in mitigating greenhouse gases, because of the site being totally auto-dependent. After several hearings and appearances before a judge, the County agreed to require Sutter Hospital to provide a shuttle to the hospital from the nearest SMART rail station. Sutter will also provide free bus and train passes to…

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TRANSDEF talks HSR on KPFA

TRANSDEF talks HSR on KPFA 03/19/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail A lively interview on KPFA’s Morning Mix where TRANSDEF’s David Schonbrunn details what’s wrong with the HSR project, and how to fix it. The program runs 12:00. Tags: Press

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Reflections Following the Senate Hearing

Reflections Following the Senate Hearing 03/14/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail I think TRANSDEF is onto something that no one else is stressing: Because of the way Proposition 1A, AB 3034, was written, there can be no project without private capital and/or a huge federal commitment. So far, the Authority has been allowed to frame the consideration of its plan, which makes it seem reasonable. Here’s why it is necessary to pull back and look at the bigger picture: The strictures of AB 3034 prohibit the very kind of incremental improvements that would be most sensible (and which are standard practice…

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