Per the Associated Press late this afternoon, via KFI’s website (emphasis ours):
Dealing a major blow to California’s high-speed rail project, a Sacramento County judge has ruled that the agency overseeing the bullet train failed to comply with the financial and environmental requirements voters were promised on the ballot.
Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, in a ruling late Friday, said the California High-Speed Rail Authority “abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law.”
But he declined to immediately halt funding for the project and said he will hold another hearing to determine what happens next.
Landowners in the Central Valley argued in the 2011 lawsuit that the $68 billion high-speed rail plan did not meet the promises made to voters in 2008, when they approved selling $10 billion in bonds for it.
Proposition 1A required the agency to identify funding for the entire first segment of the project and clear all environmental hurdles.
As we’ve asked for years, what of Anaheim’s nearly one-half BILLION DOLLAR commitment to Bullet Train-related transportation initiatives (the $174 million ARTIC train station and the $319 million Disney streetcar) that will be completely USELESS when (apparently there’s little ‘if’ any longer) this bloated, union-job generator HSR project is finally dead?
Much of Anaheim’s funding is taken from the Orange County Transportation Authority’s County-wide Measure M sales tax initiative, and it’s not unreasonable to ask what’s happened with this money and why it was gambled on such a shaky proposition as the Browndoggle. The OCTA Board won’t have a clue, and neither will its feckless Chairman and his “watchdog” Taxpayers Oversight Committee. They’ve all failed to protect the Measure M Taxpayer’s interests.
And how foolish might Aaron Kushner and his OC Register be feeling right now having just done a real questionable deal to support Curt Pringle’s ARTIC Barn, especially when the Register editorialized just 16 months ago that the “$180 million train-bus depot seems unjustified by city’s level of ridership”. Or doesn’t Kushner read his own paper?
SJ Mercury News: Judge: California High-Speed Rail Authority violates initiative
CAHSR Blog (Robert Cruikshank) spins, lies and blames Republicans: Judge Declines to Block HSR Construction – For Now
Reason Foundation: “A judge’s ruling today may not have killed the California high-speed rail plan, but it can definitely see the gallows from where it’s standing.” http://reason.com/blog/2013/08/16/judge-rules-calif-high-speed-rail-plan-v. More:
Proposition 1A was approved by voters in California to fund the high-speed rail, but as research from the Reason Foundation has shown, the plan being pursued is significantly out of compliance with what was put before voters. The costs have skyrocketed, the trains will not be able to operate at the speeds promised, it will likely need government subsidies to stay in operation, and there’s no funding beyond the very first segment of construction, among other problems. The judge agreed the train project did not appear to have the required funding sources beyond the first segment and hasn’t gotten the necessary environmental clearances to continue, as Proposition 1A demands:
The judge is asking attorneys for both side to provide additional written arguments before he determines whether he should invalidate the authority’s funding plan or even go so far as to invalidate the Legislature’s approval of funds last summer. No schedule has been set for those briefings or a hearing on the issue.
LA Time$ (8/18/13) in California transit projects at stake in Washington budget battles:
The House transportation funding bill…includes a Republican-drafted amendment that the California High-Speed Rail Authority said would effectively kill the $68-billion project. The measure would require the federal Surface Transportation Board to consider the project in its entirety rather than in segments.
Dan Richard, the authority’s chairman, said in a recent interview that although the authority is prepared to seek the approval of the board for segments of the rail project, the amendment is “very clearly constructed with one purpose: to stop the high-speed rail project in its entirety. Period.”
Richard said the authority, which has received about $3.3 billion in federal funding, had no plans to seek additional federal dollars for next year. But he said a separate provision of the bill that would prohibit federal funding next year for the rail line would hurt the authority’s ability to raise private funds for the project.
“This is the wrong time to be saying, ‘We want to send a message to everybody that we don’t support high-speed rail,'” he said. “If that stayed in there, it would simply slow our efforts to expand the funding base to include the private sector.”