Elizabeth Gallardo is a planning associate with the city of Los Angeles, working as part of an ambitious effort to update the city's numerous community plans while also teaching planning courses at a nearby university.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority voted on December 13 to approve two plans that would spend $3.2 billion in high-speed rail bond funds for continuing construction in the Central Valley and help pay for Caltrain commuter rail electrification.
Uncertainty as to whether cap-and-trade funding would continue past 2020 and opposition to the initial operating segment leaving out the city of Merced were two issues that arose during a Assembly Transportation Committee hearing of the plan.
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.
Both sides have been awaiting this ruling, which left Gov. Jerry Brown and the High Speed Rail Authority greatly pleased: the appeals court ruling releases $9.9 billion of 2008 voter-approved bond funding, though other court battles loom.
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.
In 2008, California voters approved the country's only true HSR project with a travel time of 2 hours, 40 minutes from L.A. to San Francisco. Anything more than that might cause legislators to balk at proposed cap-and-trade funding for the train.
Unlike prior litigation based on environmental grounds, this suit, brought by a farmer, homeowner and the Kings County Board of Supervisors, is based on the rail project's business plan violating the bond measure the voters approved to fund it.
A major environmental lawsuit against the High Speed Rail Authority brought by Central Valley farmers and other parties was settled on April 18, clearing the way for initial construction to begin on the 30 mile corridor between Madera and Fresno.