Thursday, June 21, 2012

CA high speed rail project won't catch a break from environmental lawsuits

Silicon Valley Mercury News/Mike Rosenberg, 6/20/12.  "Gov. Jerry Brown scraps idea to soften environmental scrutiny on high-speed rail."

Remember when everyone loved a train?
"The Brown administration on Wednesday abandoned its plan to ease environmental scrutiny of the $69 billion bullet train, backing off quickly after strong opposition from environmentalists threatened the project altogether.

The proposal was designed to prevent opponents from halting high-speed rail construction in court on environmental grounds. It was tied to a key vote in the Legislature in coming weeks on whether to build the first $6 billion leg of tracks in the Central Valley.

But powerful environmental groups -- and key bullet train supporters -- like the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council were outraged at what they considered an attempt to undermine the state's landmark environmental law. They spent the last three weeks urging lawmakers to scrap the plan, saying it would set a dangerous precedent."  Read Article.  

Related  - Streets Blog Network, 1/5/12, article.  .Independent Voter Network, 5/10/11 article and picture, "The vision of high speed rail (HSR) is to have trains traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes, and from San Jose to San Francisco in 30 minutes. Voters authorized this in 2008 when Prop 1A passed. However, it only authorizes $9.5 billion in bonds to finance HSR, and that’s not nearly enough. The final cost might be $40 billion or more. California hopes to get several billion more from the federal government, which will help, but won’t end the funding shortfall."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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