Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Central Valley takes high-speed rail to court

Drawing by Monte Wolverton

Mark Powell details the issues in the Central Valley litigation against the state's high-speed rail project:

Following the appropriation of rail bonds by the state legislature this past July, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) began adding highly paid executives to its staff and embarked on a spending spree to advance the rail project. Against the formidable forces of the state stand two Kings County farmers, their lawyer, and the Law.
CHSRA was chartered in 1996 and tasked with "preparation of a high-speed intercity rail plan similar to California’s former freeway plan and designate an entity with stable and predictable funding sources to implement the plan" [emphasis added]. In spite of failing at this task for 16 years, the Authority now seeks to begin construction early next year in what the farmers’ lawsuit contends is in violation of the voter approved Proposition 1A ( “the Law”).
The farmers’ lawsuit, moving forward in the Superior Court of Sacramento with a trial scheduled for mid-2013, contends CHSRA, Governor Brown, and other state officials have acted lawlessly in their actions leading up to the appropriation of the rail bonds this past July and seeks to constrain the state and its officers to acting within the law when they write the required updated funding plan prior to actual release of the rail bonds.
The gist of the farmers lawsuit is that Proposition 1A requires (1) the high speed rail system be built in usable high speed rail segments “suitable and ready for high speed train operation," and (2) a certified funding plan be written showing commitments for all funds needed to complete the usable segment and a schedule for receipt of those funds. Furthermore, Proposition 1A makes no provision for funding the partial construction of a usable segment. Yet that is exactly what the state and its agencies are planning to do in the Central Valley...
Read the rest here.
Read about the Peninsula's litigation against the project here.



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