High-Speed Rail

AP California News
Sep 2, 7:45 PM EDT
By JULIET WILLIAMS
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Opponents of California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project submitted an appeal Tuesday to the state Supreme Court, asking it to overturn a lower court’s ruling that allowed the project to proceed despite questions about whether it complies with promises made to voters.

Central Valley residents argue in their petition that the July 31 ruling by the appellate court undercuts 100 years of legal precedent requiring strict compliance with the intent of the voters in implementing a voter-approved bond measure.

Proposition 1A, approved by voters, promised that the state would identify funding for the first useable segment of the rail line and that it would have necessary environmental clearances done before starting construction.

The plaintiffs, Kings County and landowners in the Central Valley, successfully argued in Sacramento County Superior Court that the state failed on both counts, identifying only $6 billion of the estimated $26 billion needed for the first 130-mile segment, and failing to secure sufficient environmental approvals.

In rulings that prevented the sale of $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds and created ongoing uncertainty about the project, the judge ordered the state to draft a new funding plan and seek more environmental clearances.

In its ruling last month, the 3rd District Court of Appeal acknowledged legitimate legal concerns about whether the “high-speed rail project the California High-Speed Rail Authority seeks to build is the project approved by the voters.”

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