An artist’s rendering of a California high-speed rail train. (Associated Press)
May 24, 2014
A state appellate court panel on Friday zeroed in on technical and procedural issues that could signal trouble for Central Valley groups fighting California’s proposed bullet train project.
During an hour of oral arguments in Sacramento, the three-member panel questioned attorneys both about the timing of the opponents’ lawsuit, and some of its underlying interpretations of state law.
The appeals court is reviewing a trial court judge’s ruling last year that the state failed to comply with taxpayer protections included in a $9-billion bond measure, a decision that has prevented the state from tapping the funds.
But Deputy Atty. Gen. Ross C. Moody argued that the state followed the requirements of Proposition 1A, the 2008 bond proposal. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny made multiple errors, Moody said, when he blocked the use of the bond fund and ordered a new funding plan for the project.
“We can’t get this project off the ground,” Moody said. “We are stopped because of a misreading of Proposition 1A.”
The appellate court has 90 days to issue a decision, which could affect the state’s plan to start construction this summer.
Under the bond measure, the state was supposed to develop a plan showing it had all required environmental reviews and sources of funding identified to build an initial segment of the system that could be used to run bullet trains. The ballot measure also required a second plan presented to the Legislature.
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