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CA High Speed Rail: Litigation Bonanza

If the lack of funding doesn't kill it, lawsuits in northern, southern, and now central California might just do it. California Watch analyzes the lawsuits facing the CA High Speed Rail Authority in the three regions of the state.
September 20, 2011, 2pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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While affluent Peninsula cities are suing the authority over the route, including impacts to their cities and ridership projections and a Central Valley county prepares to sue over impacts to farmland, a Los Angeles County city is suing for the opposite reason - it wants a rail station and fears it will be bypassed.

The new entrant into the litigation arena is the Kings County Board of Supervisors whose "lawyers are preparing objections to a recent draft environmental study....At the heart of the county's frustrations is the rail authority's refusal to consider running the high-speed trains along the Highway 99 corridor. Instead, the line veers off the highway south of Fresno to follow the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight line."

"Some higher authority needs to put a stop to this," said Diana Peck, director of the Kings County Farm Bureau.

The HSRA is required by the federal government to begin construction in this area if it wishes to use the $3.5 federal stimulus funds, and to have spent them by Sept. 2017 or risk losing them.

"It's a much different story down south in Palmdale, where local officials have fought not to prevent the intrusion of high-speed trains, but to keep a rail station in town". The High Speed Rail Authority appears to favor a route though 'the Grapevine' that would bypass Palmdale.

Meanwhile, "a congressional panel slashed the Federal Railroad Administration budget" imperiling all high speed rail projects.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, September 19, 2011 in California Watch via SF Chronicle
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