high speed rail

Is California’s High Speed Rail Project Falling Apart?

Join my KALW radio conversation tonight with newly appointed High Speed Rail Authority board chair Lenny Mendonca at 7pm

The future of California’s high speed rail system has arguably never been as perilous as now. Otherwise-supportive legislators are now openly mulling raiding high speed rail funds meant to complete the first leg in the Central Valley for rail improvements in the more densely populated parts of California, namely the San Francisco Bay Area and …

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Governor Newsom Retreats On High Speed Rail

Revised Merced-Bakersfield vision in “State of the State” speech indicates reluctance to spend political capital

Governor Newsom’s “State of the State” speech today offered an abrupt scaling back of the state’s vision for its signature infrastructure project, high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco: [L]et’s level about high speed rail.  I have nothing but respect for Governor Brown’s and Governor Schwarzenegger’s ambitious vision. I share it. And there’s …

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Cap-And-Trade Extension A Lifeline For High Speed Rail

Auction proceeds will continue to fund the train and other transit, housing and energy programs

As Cara posted, the California Legislature scored a super-majority victory last night to extend the state’s signature cap-and-trade program through 2030. It was a rare bipartisan vote, although it leaned mostly on Democrats. Lost in the politics is what this means for high speed rail. The system has a fixed and dwindling amount of federal …

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It’s Environmental Law Week at the California Supreme Court

Justices to Hear Oral Arguments in Three Major Environmental Cases This Week

The California Supreme Court currently has approximately twenty pending environmental cases on its docket.  This week, the Court’s justices will hear oral arguments in three of the most important of those cases.  Taken together, these looming decisions raise important issues concerning the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), federal preemption, climate change mitigation and adaptation, private …

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What’s The Future Of California’s High Speed Rail System?

Join My KALW Radio Conversation Tonight With Authority Chair Dan Richard At 7pm

California’s high speed rail system has been moving at a low speed since voters approved a bond issue to launch it in 2008. That ballot measure authorized a bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles and eventually Anaheim, at speeds of 220 miles per hour and stops in Central Valley cities like Fresno and …

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California Finally Breaks Ground On High Speed Rail Today

Six years and many lawsuits and political compromises after voters approved it

It’s been over six years since California voters approved a bond measure to fund a two-hour-and-forty-minute Los Angeles to San Francisco high speed rail system. Today groundbreaking finally takes place in Fresno. In the intervening six years, lawsuits and political compromises have delayed the system and likely made the timetables promised to voters impossible to …

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Big Court Wins For High Speed Rail

More litigation to come, along with funding challenges, but construction can finally begin

The California High Speed Rail Authority secured a big legal victory in the state court of appeals yesterday, which overturned twin decisions by a trial court judge that threatened to derail (no pun intended) the entire program. Coupled with another appellate court win a week ago upholding the program-level environmental review on the Pacheco Pass …

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The Perils of Rail Transit and Democracy

How Decentralized Decision-Making Can Screw Up Rail Planning and Implementation

Americans seem to love democracy but hate many of the results. We want governmental power to be decentralized, whether it’s across three federal branches or with local control over sometimes regionally oriented land use decisions. But when the inevitable compromise that is required to get majority approval means a less-than-perfect result, from Obamacare to budget …

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California High Speed Rail Slowed by Court Decisions

Judge rules the train needs a new business plan and project-level environmental review

California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny dealt two setbacks to high speed rail yesterday that are likely to delay the project significantly.  First, Judge Kenny ruled that the state committee that approved the disbursement of bond money for the project acted without sufficient evidence to justify the disbursal.  California law empowers the High-Speed Passenger Train …

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Postcard from Barcelona

Looking at the Catalonian path to sustainability

Flying into Barcelona, it becomes immediately obvious that this is a city with its eye on a sustainable future. Right along the waterfront is a large photovoltaic array, perched on four giant supports. It is emblematic of a broader set of initiatives that, for a short time, placed Spain at the forefront of renewable energy …

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