The lawsuit by Kings County et.al. was a significant threat to California's $64 billion rail plan, based on the plan's ability to meet the terms promised in the 2008 proposition, such as travel time due to sharing tracks with Caltrain.
The Surface Transportation Board's denial of Caltrain's request to provide an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act gives the go ahead to the Town of Atherton's lawsuit requesting the rail board redo its Environmental Impact Report.
Seems like it's nothing but bad news for the rail authority since a judge ruled in November that the project was not in compliance with the proposition that the voters approved in 2008. This appeals court ruling means that a trial will move forward.
It was the first of many lawsuits to hit the HSRA. Menlo Park and Atherton, joined later by Palo Alto - three adjoining cities on the San Mateo County/Santa Clara County border, among the wealthiest in the nation, sued in 2008 to reroute the train.
The alternative plan directs a sizable percentage of the initial $6 billion allocation to the Bay and LA regions to upgrade existing commuter lines at the expense of greater investment in the Central Valley. Funding plan may be determined by July 6.
Knowing that a $100 billion project stood a poor chance of passing muster in a budget-conscious state legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown shaved off $30 billion by using a "blended rail" strategy in the Bay Area and South Coast, i.e. sharing tracks.