Monday, April 29, 2013

Despite Opposition, High-Speed Rail Authority Proceeds with Bullet Train Project in California

The High Speed Rail project has faced some setbacks lately, but a recent settlement with Central Valley farmers signals the elimination of a major obstacle.

 In a press release, Adam Gray, a member of the State Assembly from Merced stated:

 "This agreement between the farm bureaus and high speed rail removes one of the last major hurdles we had to overcome before we could realize this huge opportunity for our community"

Construction for the project is planned to start in just months, and new challenges have cropped up in court in the form of questions on the legality of the “blended approach” (described in more detail in this older post) which the Authority has had to adopt. Criticism is focused on the fact that this plan will not allow for the bullet train to make the LA-SF journey in the time provided for in the 2008 voter-approved bond measure.   

While the High Speed Rail’s voter-approved bond money is tied up in court, the Authority needs access to funds in order to begin construction on schedule. In an effort to address the bond-related legal concerns, the Authority filed a “validation action” which seeks to resolve all issues at once in court. But until the judge decides on whether the current HSR plan is true to what Californians approved in 2008, HSR will be receiving a loan in the amount of $26 million dollars, following a vote by the State Assembly budget committee.