Monday, April 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Peninsula cities lose bid to halt high-speed rail

SACRAMENTO — Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto lost a bid to block the California high-speed rail line along the Caltrain corridor south of San Francisco after a judge dismissed a five-year-old lawsuit.

The Thursday ruling in Sacramento County Superior Court means the $68 billion rail system can use the Pacheco Pass to connect the San Joaquin Valley with the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We continue to move forward to start construction this summer and create thousands of jobs in California,” Jeff Morales, chief executive of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said in a statement.

The peninsula cities and environmentalists had argued that the route through the Pacheco Pass, which is east of Gilroy, would harm the environment. They sued under the California Environmental Quality Act, but the court sided with the rail authority.

A route through the Pacheco Pass would bring the rail line directly into the peninsula and San Francisco from the south, partly using existing rail rights of way. The cities proposed an alternate route through the Altamont Pass, which is farther north and ends on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay.

The challenge with the Altamont route is how to get the high-speed rail line into San Francisco. Miles of track would have to be added to wrap it around the eastern and southern ends of the bay, an area that has extensive wetlands.

State lawmakers approved the first phase of the planned 800-mile line last summer, allowing the state to begin selling $2.6 billion in voter-approved bonds for construction of the first 130-mile stretch in the Central Valley. That approval allowed the state to tap $3.2 billion from the federal government, but where the rest of the money will come from to complete the system remains undetermined.

The state’s business plan calls for some backing from private investors and for a private operator to run the system without a state subsidy. The first full segment of the system will run from Madera to Bakersfield, but the project eventually is supposed to link Northern and Southern California with trains traveling up to 220 mph.

Other legal challenges remain as the rail authority proceeds with planning and engineering work, particularly from groups representing Central Valley farmers seeking to block the project.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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Discussion | 2 comments

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  • SavetheRepublic -----Breaking NewsMarch 02, 2013 - 6:03 am

    Google this....Could California's valleys be transformed into THIS? Environmental fears as 15.4bn barrels of shale oil are found beneath fertile farmland...dailymail dot co dot uk...By Lydia Warren...21 February 2013....See the map of possilbe oil locations....Now as far as the Madera to Bakersfield proposed routes it has been commented that the local routes there seem to zig zag through as many large Dairy Farms as possilbe? Is this being done to condemn the land for public domain so that it sells cheaply and then can be bought up be the priviledged few, for oil leases. In other words soes the train and the land acquisition have something to do with the Shale oil deposits at some locations...Another opportunity for investigative reporting...Does this correlate...see the public would be installing a supposedly High speed passenger line that might be planned to fail so that the oil transport rail links would be in place and the land already condemned by eminent domaine and bought cheaply by people in the know. Public financing to benefit private investors? Don't know just asking, it has been done before.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StRMarch 02, 2013 - 7:32 am

    Something I'd really like to see anaylsis of California Bond Debt starting with the Arnold Administration till the current time, including the Beullet train bond debt already issued to the proposed Bonds that are to be issued to fund it. Please somebody tell us in depth how this process works...What state agency does the paper work, what banks or financial institutions issue the bonds...who are the bonds sold to...what is the interest rate on the bonds...Keep in mind that taxpayers repay the bonds over time, we pay....how are the bondfs rated by raing agencies...how does it work when someone trades or cashes in a bond....who reinsures the bonds....which pension plans buy the bonds, for example will CalPERS be buying them...what happens if California defaults on a bond....Yes Yes Yes someone please explain in detail how this bond stuff really works...Please....Name names ID the Players and Companies involved in all this.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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