TRANSDEF’s Testimony at Senate HSR Hearing

TRANSDEF’s Testimony at Senate HSR Hearing 03/13/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail I’m David Schonbrunn of TRANSDEF. We’re transit advocates that have been litigating HSR EIRs for the past 5 years, and have been highly critical of the Authority’s route decisions, their engineering and their ridership modeling. We see the Authority slowly changing direction and heading in a more viable direction. We give great credit to the Peer Review Group for their courageous comments, which were instrumental in bringing that about. But we are more outspoken: we vigorously oppose the Central Valley project and urge you to not fund it. Many…

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Yet Another HSR DEIR

Yet Another HSR DEIR 02/21/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail TRANSDEF, the Planning and Conservation League, the California Rail Foundation and the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail filed  comments on the Partially Revised Draft EIR today. This is the HSR Authority’s third attempt to come up with a legally defensible EIR for the Bay Area to Central Valley portion of the Statewide HSR project. TRANSDEF and its allies, which include the cities of Atherton, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto, successfully challenged the previous EIRs. These comments propose an entirely new Altamont route, based on the Altamont Corridor Rail Project Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report. (See an earlier Newsletter for an overview of this exciting project.)…

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TRANSDEF Debates US HSR Association Head

TRANSDEF Debates US HSR Association Head 01/18/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The Voice of Russia Radio hosted an informal debate between Andy Kunz, President of the US High-Speed Rail Association and David Schonbrunn, President of TRANSDEF. The debate runs 6:00. Here is the introductory paragraph on the Voice of Russia website: In California, a project President Obama promised would transform US transportation may never be completed. The state’s futuristic high-speed rail network faces eroding political and public support, increasing cost estimates and criticism from some groups who call the project a “train to nowhere.” But supporters says a national high-speed…

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Court Rules Again Against HSRA

Court Rules Again Against HSRA 11/10/11 Filed in: High-Speed Rail On Thursday, November 10, Judge Michael Kenny of the Sacramento Superior Court released a pair of decisions 38 and 40 pages long, invalidating the Environmental Impact Report for the Central Valley to Bay Area section of the California High-Speed Rail project–for the second time. The Judge found that the California High-Speed Rail Authority had failed to adequately address a series of challenges raised by the Petitioners, comprised of the Town of Atherton, the City of Menlo Park, the City of Palo Alto, the California Rail Foundation, the Transportation Solutions Defense…

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Testimony on Central Subway

Testimony on Central Subway 10/27/11 Filed in: Transportation Planning Testimony Before the S. F. Supes Audit Comm. 10/27/11 Hearing on Civil Grand Jury Report on Central Subway Supervisors, We are transit advocates, working primarily at the regional and statewide level. We have opposed the Central Subway for years, because instead of being a well- designed cost-effective transportation project, it is primarily a political payoff. The Grand Jury deserves the thanks of all San Franciscans for their willingness to dive into an incredibly dense thicket of details and their courage to call a spade a spade. Their report is a proud…

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RTP Submission by TAM

RTP Submission by TAM 10/27/11 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change TRANSDEF’s Comments to the Transportation Authority of Marin”s Regional Transportation Plan Discussion, 10-27-11 You have the authority to set a very new direction for transportation in this county. But you would never know it by reading the staff report. Judging by the report, this agenda item appears to be just another routine item. The whole point of this agenda item last month had been to ask you what weight to give to each of the RTP candidate priority criteria. But that focus has been buried. It isn’t at…

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Joint Policy Committee Blinks

Joint Policy Committee Blinks 05/20/11 Filed in: MTC | Transportation Planning David Schonbrunn’s remarks: At its last Commission meeting, MTC made a major policy decision that will strongly constrain the ability of the RTP to accomplish regional goals. They voted on whether to hold previously selected projects to the same standard of regional effectiveness as new submissions. This vote on a committed projects policy told the world that MTC really doesn’t care about achieving results, and that it is only interested in the politics of transportation dollars. Every member of the Commission did the calculation: if it comes down to the regional…

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Massive Counter-Attack Ends Brief Spring at MTC

Massive Counter-Attack Ends Brief Spring at MTC 04/27/11 Filed in: MTC | Transportation Planning In a blow to the very heart of the region’s transportation planning process, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted today to preserve the longstanding dominance of local politics in the allocation of funds for transportation projects in the Bay Area. The shortage of funds due to the economic crisis had led MTC staff to propose a revision to the Commission’s Committed Projects Policy, so as to enable the MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan to be more effective. In the past, the policy essentially cemented in previous project selections,…

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Briefs filed in HSR Challenge

Briefs filed in HSR Challenge 04/25/11 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Briefing has commenced in the challenge to the EIR for the High-Speed Rail connection between the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Plaintiffs filed their Opening Briefs today. The case has been divided into two parts: Atherton I is a continuation of the challenge to the 2008 EIR by the Town of Atherton, the City of Menlo Park, the Planning and Conservation League, the California Rail Foundation, and the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF). Atherton II is a new lawsuit challenging the legality of the revised EIR by…

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