Category: High Speed Rail

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Update on the California High Speed Rail System

James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon.  He stated that High-Speed Rail (“HSR”) is a “transformative project” in that it will be the largest infrastructure project ever built as one single project.  However, the “regulatory scheme has not … Continue Reading

Full Steam Ahead for Eminent Domain Actions after High Speed Rail Authority Negotiations End in Impasse

The State Public Works Board (the “Board”) adopted four Resolutions of Necessity approving the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) use of eminent domain for public necessity to acquire four parcels in Fresno and Madera County for the Initial Operating Segment of the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”).  (Click HERE for map of Initial Operating Segment.)  … Continue Reading

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program Environmental Impact Statement (PEIR/PEIS) for the Bay Area to San Joaquin Valley segment of California’s High Speed Rail system (the … Continue Reading

California Legislature Prepared to Approve Cap-and-Trade Funds for High Speed Rail Project

The Sacramento Bee has reported that the Legislature’s budget proposal for the high-speed rail project has been finalized.  Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers have agreed to use 25 percent of future cap-and-trade funds, totaling $250 million, to continue construction of the $68 billion California High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”).  The floor votes for the … Continue Reading

High-Speed Rail Fresno to Bakersfield Route Approved

The California High Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) Board of Directors unanimously voted on Wednesday to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the Fresno to Bakersfield alignment of the high-speed rail project (the “Project”) and approve the selected alignment.  Click HERE for a map of the approved alignment.  The Federal Railroad Administration … Continue Reading

California High Speed Rail Authority Gains New Approvals to Move Project Forward: Eminent Domain Proceedings Commenced on Eight Additional Parcels in Fresno County

Despite recent obstacles, the California High Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) remains steadfast in its determination to complete the high-speed rail project (the “Project”), bolstered by recent approvals from various state agencies. First, the Authority received the green light last Friday from the State Public Works Board to begin eminent domain proceedings against eight properties … Continue Reading

High Speed Rail Decision on Track for Review at Court of Appeal

Last Friday, Governor Brown’s administration (the “Petitioners”) filed a petition for extraordinary writ of mandate and application for temporary stay with the California Supreme Court, challenging Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney’s decision last November to halt construction of the high-speed rail project.  On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court declined to consider the petition and instead transferred … Continue Reading

Governor’s Budget Proposal Throws a Life Preserver to the High-Speed Rail Project

On the heels of Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney’s decision halting an $8 billion bond sale for the construction of the California high-speed rail (“HSR”) project, Governor Jerry Brown has submitted a budget proposal to reapportion money from California’s surplus fund to the HSR project.  Notably, the surplus fund includes $850 million generated … Continue Reading

Is Your Property Next? California Authorizes Condemnation of Fresno County Property for High Speed Rail Project

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) first request to seize a parcel in Fresno County through eminent domain has been approved by the State Public Works Board (the “SPWB”), the state agency that oversees fiscal matters associated with construction of projects for state agencies.  The Authority made its request to the SPWB because its … Continue Reading

Major Roadblock in High-Speed Rail Project’s Track

A ruling by the Sacramento County Superior Court has presented a major roadblock to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (“Authority”) high-speed rail project (“Project”).  On November 25, 2013, Judge Michael Kenny ruled that the Authority was not authorized to sell $8 billion of the $10 billion in state bonds designated for project funding under Proposition … Continue Reading

Hearing on Nov. 8 May Determine California High Speed Rail’s Future

The parties in a pending Sacramento Superior Court action, Tos, et. al. v. California High Speed Rail Authority, et al., have submitted supplemental briefing in preparation for a hearing next week.  The supplemental briefing addresses the Court’s uncertainty as to whether the issuance of a writ of mandate invalidating the High Speed Rail Authority’s (“Authority”) … Continue Reading

California High-Speed Rail Authority Violated Proposition 1A

The California High-Speed Rail Authority ("Authority") had a major setback on Friday when Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled that the Authority had "abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of [Proposition 1A]" and failed to identify "sources of funds that were more than merely theoretically possible." Proposition 1A, which voters passed in 2008, requires the Authority to identify the funding for the entire first segment of the high-speed rail project and clear all environmental review prior to commencing construction. Last summer, lawmakers authorized selling $2.6 billion in state bonds for construction of the first segment, the 130 miles from Madera to Fresno, and allowed the state to tap $3.3 billion in federal matching funds. During the hearing, the Authority argued that it had complied with Proposition 1A because the requirements only apply to the construction of the first 130-mile segment.… Continue Reading

High Speed Rail Authority’s Appraisal Process Questioned

Two Republican State Assemblymen (Jim Patterson, R-Fresno and Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals) submitted a request to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee on Tuesday for an investigation into the California High Speed Rail Authority’s (“Authority”) appraisal process, assessment of land values, and the role of private contractors in the Authority’s acquisition of 356 parcels in the Central … Continue Reading

Alignment Approval for Initial Construction Delayed

The High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) monthly Board of Directors meeting in Sacramento is scheduled for tomorrow, June 6, 2013.  Many supporters and opponents of the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”) have been waiting anxiously for this meeting because the previously released agenda indicated that the Board would approve a rail alignment between Fresno and … Continue Reading

High Speed Rail Authority Ready for Construction after Settling Environmental Lawsuits

On the eve of target date to commence construction, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) managed to settle the remaining environmental lawsuit that jeopardized the construction of the initial segment of the High-Speed Rail project.  On April 18, 2013, the Madera County Farm Bureau, Merced County Farm Bureau, Chowchilla Water District, Preserve Our Heritage, … Continue Reading

High Speed Rail Authority One Step Closer to Selecting Fresno to Bakersfield Route

The California High Speed Rail Authority (Authority) convened last Thursday, April 7 at Fresno City Hall to discuss the high-speed rail project’s (Project) alternative routes in the Central Valley. Project planners presented a recommendation for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield route that will follow the BNSF Railway track until it heads west to Hanford and passes through Corcoran, … Continue Reading

High Speed Rail Gets Green Light from Feds

The Obama Administration finally gave its formal approval to the California High-Speed Rail Authority to begin construction of the high-speed railway beginning in the Central Valley.  The approval, which came in the form of a formal “record of decision” from the Federal Railroad Administration, gives the green light to the Authority to begin acquiring hundreds … Continue Reading

Kings County Sues To Derail California’s High-Speed Rail Project

            Unlike most of California’s Central Valley counties, such as Merced and Fresno, which have consistently supported the High Speed Rail (“HSR”) project, Kings County has been openly opposed to the plan to construct a high speed rail through its fertile farmland.  That opposition reached a flashpoint yesterday as Kings County, and two Kings County … Continue Reading

High Speed Rail: Is It Harder to Stop a Moving Train?

In the face of growing opposition and concern over soaring costs, the California High Speed Rail Authority Board (“Authority”) is betting that the answer to this question will be “yes.”  The Authority met yesterday for its August board meeting and focused on laying more groundwork for the “Initial Construction Segment” or “ICS” in the San … Continue Reading

Legislature Scrutinizes High Speed Rail Project Management

The California High Speed Rail Project (“Project”) has recently been subject to operational scrutiny.  The Legislative Analyst Office (“LAO”) released a report (link) early last month that highlights several issues with the project, including the lack of overall funding and the inadequate expertise of board members.   After the report was issued, the state’s Senate and … Continue Reading

California High Speed Rail Secures Another Infusion of Federal Funding

The California High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) announced yesterday that it has received $300 million in additional funding from the federal government.  The money has been reallocated from the $2 billion that was set aside for the Florida high speed rail project, which was rejected by their governor earlier this year.  In addition to the … Continue Reading
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