Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Court gives new life to California high-speed rail

By
From page A4 | August 02, 2014 |

SACRAMENTO — A state appellate court ruling has given new momentum to Gov. Jerry Brown’s $68 billion high-speed rail project by providing the state with a substantial funding source and lifting one cloud over a plan that has been widely criticized for its cost, route, construction plans and environmental reviews.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal on Thursday overturned two lower court rulings that had prevented the sale of $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds and created uncertainty about financing of the project to link Northern and Southern California with high-speed trains.

The Sacramento County Superior Court judge had also ordered bullet train officials to write a new funding plan specifying how the state would pay for $26 billion in work it has not yet found financing to cover.

The appeals court ruling is “probably the most important news that’s been received in the last several years,” said Rod Diridon of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University and a former member of California’s High-Speed Rail Authority board. “What it does is signal to the rest of the world that the California high-speed rail project is legally sound and is going ahead.”

The ruling came on the heels of a budget deal Brown brokered for long-term funding. It gives the project $250 million this year from the state’s greenhouse gas emissions fund and a quarter of the fund’s revenues in the future, which could eventually be billions of dollars a year.

Last year’s lower court rulings stalled momentum and tied up future financing, forcing the state to rely on $3.3 billion in federal matching funds. The plaintiffs, Kings County and landowners in the Central Valley, argued that the current bullet train plans deviate substantially from what voters were told the project would be in 2008 when they approved selling nearly $10 billion in bonds for it.

Rail Authority Chief Executive Jeff Morales called the appellate court ruling a turning point.

Opponents “have been for months now creating a narrative that we would never be able to get to the bonds, that we could never comply with the law,” Morales said. “That continued drumbeat from opponents impacted public opinion.”

He said the ruling, which is not final for 30 days, provides needed legal clarity.

Demolition work and construction testing has already begun around Fresno, one of the first hubs on a 28-mile stretch in the Central Valley.

Other impediments remain, however, including ongoing uncertainty about funding; a land acquisition process that is behind schedule; and another lawsuit by the same plaintiffs arguing that compromises made to cut the price to $68 billion mean the bullet train won’t be able to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes, as promised.

Morales said land and right of way discussions were slowed by the public perception that the project could be halted at any time.

Republicans who control the House have also vowed to block any further funding for California’s rail project.

The latest ruling “does nothing to change the $55 billion funding gap the California High-Speed Rail Authority faces, nor does it eliminate the glaring differences that remain between what voters approved in Prop. 1A and the authority’s current plan,” U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, said in a statement.

The judges acknowledged legitimate legal concerns “as to whether the high-speed rail project the California High-Speed Rail Authority seeks to build is the project approved by the voters.” But they said plans are still in flux and noted that on other public works projects the California Supreme Court “has allowed substantial deviation between the preliminary plans submitted to the voters and the eventual final project,” which casts doubt on the chances of success for a possible appeal.

The state must still draft a new funding plan before actually spending any of the bond money. Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the bond money is not needed yet anyway, and the state will first tap other funds for construction.

The decision is a serious blow to the landowners and other Central Valley opponents who have spent years challenging various parts of the high-speed rail plan. Kings County Counsel Colleen Carlson called it disappointing.

“Everyone I talk to, that seems to be the first word that falls off their lips,” Carlson said. “There’s always a ‘but’ in this and the ‘but’ is that so much has been accomplished. I mean, we’ve required accountability from the rail authority, made it get itself up and operate.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield park shooting suspects take plea deals

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1

 
 
Child care program helps teen parents, students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
Vacaville questions state draft plan on water cuts

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Take stock of where you are now, and act

By Murray Bass | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sunken aircraft carrier rediscovered off California coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Investigators say identity-theft suspect had 74 aliases

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
‘Opt Out’ of Common Core movement gaining strength

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Gas-line blast closes Highway 99, injures at least 11

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
In Aaron Hernandez murder case, question lingers: Why?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Google shaking up search recommendations on smartphones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7