Another strike against California’s $68B bullet train?

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HIgh-speed train It’s a modern battle of David versus Goliath. After multiple setbacks and public outcry failed to stop the powerful project, it appears little can stop it.

A judge slammed the brakes on the project’s funding last month. Fox News reports that a request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to sell $9 billion of the $10 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008 was rejected.

The judge also ruled state officials failed to comply with legal requirements but chose to proceed with plans anyway.

The decision didn’t necessarily stop the project, but does make progress difficult. Read more.

The Fox and Hound Daily reports the state’s Surface Transportation Board denied the Authority’s request for an early conditional approval to move forward with construction on the 114-mile Fresno-to-Bakersfield leg of the project before environmental reviews are completed.

The project’s tribulations appears to be only just beginning.

“Further delays in the project’s groundbreaking (already more than a year behind schedule), the prospect of multiple challenges over bond validation, a likelihood of drawn out negotiations over right-of-way acquisition, steadfast Congressional opposition to providing further federal funds, and, most importantly, the Authority’s inability to identify credible sources of non-federal money to complete the entire Initial Operating Segment, all add up to a very problematic future for this “transformative” project,” the article, available here, concluded.

The project’s supporters remain optimistic. Dan Richard, head of the rail authority, saw the November ruling as a positive sign.

“It is important to stress that the court again declined the opposition’s request to stop the high-speed rail project from moving forward,” he said in an article here.

As one editorial published in the Turlock (Calif.) Journal explains, project proponents are “much like a kid living in an apartment in New York City who is so obsessed about Santa giving him a horse they don’t care about practicality, logic, or how much it will cost to obtain and maintain. They just want the horse. And in this case it’s a $68 billion semi-thoroughbred horse that will take a lot of high octane subsidizes to keep going once it is on the tracks.”

Read, “High speed rail business plan: Hell or high water.”



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