The California High Speed Rail Authority has enjoyed much good news of late. It celebrated the expedited federal clearance of environmental permitting from the Federal Railroad Administration on Sept. 19 for the northern segment of the Central Valley 'spine' of the Los Angeles to San Francisco project. On July 6, the state Senate, by one vote, approved allocating $2.7 billion in 2008 Prop. 1A high speed rail funds for the Central Valley segment. Only determined Central Valley farm interests and their political friends remain as the obstacle to construction.
Determined to protect farmland from the project, "the Madera and Merced County farm bureaus have asked a judge to freeze construction on a segment of the project", writes Joshua Emerson Smith of the Merced Sun-Star.
"Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley will hear arguments for and against the Preliminary injunction Nov 16. The CEQA challenge of the Merced-to-Fresno route is scheduled to start in April."
It was for this very reason that another determined player, Gov. Jerry Brown, had requested that the project receive 'streamlining' from the state's premier environmental law, the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in June. However, pressure from the major environmental groups in the state cause him to relent.
Thanks to Katie Pearce