California High Speed Rail Authority Denied Request to Overturn Lawsuit

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.

2 minute read

April 21, 2014, 6:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


The Sacramento Superior Court's August and November rulings last year on the Kings County et.al case set off what The Fresno Bee's Tim Sheehan describes as "a complex web of litigation that threatens to stall or kill the proposed $68 billion statewide high-speed rail program, even as the (California High Speed Rail Authority) says it is on the cusp of starting construction on the first 29-mile stretch [PDF] in Madera and Fresno counties." [See related article by Sheehan.]

The rail authority had asked the California Supreme Court "to overturn the Sacramento County Superior Court's decision ordering a trial on one part of a lawsuit while another portion of the case is pending an appeal." The Supreme Court directed the petition to the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

The appeals court denial of the March 21 request "means that the trial on the issue of the Authority's violations of  Proposition 1A's requirements ... will move forward, probably some time this summer," said Stuart Flashman, an "Oakland attorney representing Kings County farmer John Tos, Hanford homeowner Aaron Fukuda and the Kings County Board of Supervisors." That "two-pronged" case was filed in late 2011.

Is Caltrain electrification imperiled by the ruling?

Sheehan writes that "(t)he portion of the lawsuit affected by Tuesday's order involves assertions by Tos, Fukuda and the county that plans for bullet trains to share upgraded, electrified tracks with commuter trains along the San Francisco Peninsula (and to a lesser degree in the Los Angeles area) violates Prop. 1A in several key aspects:

• That the blended system is substantially different than a line of fully dedicated tracks only for high-speed trains that some hard-core advocates and project opponents both say was what voters were promised in Prop. 1A.

• That sharing tracks with the Caltrain commuter line between San Francisco and San Jose will keep high-speed trains from achieving Prop. 1A's ultimate mandate for a 2-hour 40-minute nonstop ride from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles' Union Station."

Sheehan points to two other rulings that the 3rd District Court of Appeal has on its plate - both appeals by the authority on Sacramento Municipal Court rulings: "the first piece of the Kings County lawsuit on the 2011 financing plan, and (Judge Michael) Kenny's refusal to validate the sale of Prop. 1A bonds needed to pay for the first phases of construction in the San Joaquin Valley."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in The Fresno Bee

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

A view straight down LaSalle Street, lined by high-rise buildings with an El line running horizontally over the street.

Chicago to Turn High-Rise Offices into Housing

Four commercial buildings in the Chicago Loop have been approved for redevelopment into housing in a bid to revitalize the city’s downtown post-pandemic.

April 10, 2024 - Chicago Construction News

Purple jacaranda trees in bloom in Los Angeles with tall white Art Deco buildings in background.

LA County Releases Draft Community Forest Management Plan

LA County's Chief Sustainability Office just released the discussion draft of Room to Grow, the first Community Forest Management Plan for the county.

April 21 - Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office

Aerial view of downtown Seattle, Washington at dusk.

Seattle Downtown Plan Expands Permitted Uses

The Downtown Activation Plan shifts from Euclidean to form-based zoning to encourage more commercial development.

April 21 - Governing

Large water pipe with brown water pouring out into dirt ditch.

Southern Water Infrastructure at Risk From Climate Impacts

A water main breaks somewhere in the United States every two minutes, according to an estimate from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

April 21 - The Conversation

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.