High-Speed Rail

News & Analysis as of

Public Works Board Moving Forward with Condemnations as High Speed Rail Project Breaks Ground

As the High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) prepares to begin construction this week of the first segment of the High Speed Rail Project (the “Project”), the State Public Works Board is concurrently scrambling to consider...more

California Supreme Court Poised To Decide Key CEQA Questions: The Court’s Lineup For 2015

The California Supreme Court’s involvement in CEQA cases has been relatively limited since he statute’s enactment in 1970, with the court taking  review of at most one or two appellate court decisions a year.  The last two...more

The Federal Surface Transportation Board Finds California Environmental Quality Act Preempted as Applied to High-Speed Rail...

In a surprising decision, Surface Transportation Board Decision, Docket No. FD35861, December 12, 2014 (“Docket”), the Federal Surface Transportation Board (“Board”) ruled that the application of the California Environmental...more

“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

Surface Transportation Board Rules That ICCTA Preempts CEQA Review of California’s High-Speed Train System

On December 12, 2014, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued a decision, in response to a petition filed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority), finding that the Interstate Commerce Commission...more

High Speed Rail Moves Forward Without CEQA Review

The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) issued a declaratory order in a 2-1 vote last Friday, finding that the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) is categorically preempted by federal law, as it relates to the...more

California High-Speed Rail: If You Build It, Will They Come?

“If your friends ask you what’s happening with that High-Speed Rail, you can tell them construction has started.” That’s what the Northern California Regional Director for the California High-Speed Rail Authority told us the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Heat, drought worsen smog in California, stalling decades of progress: Los Angeles Times - Nov 10: Heat and extreme drought have worsened smog in California over the last year, stalling...more

California’s High Speed Rail Project. Are We Done With the Drama?

Proponents of California’s high-speed rail project cleared a major hurdle this past week when the California Supreme Court declined to review a California Court of Appeals ruling which held that the state’s funding plan did...more

Is This the Closest I’ll Get to High-Speed Rail?

Attending the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) convention last week in Houston, Texas was like being the proverbial kid in a candy shop. The massive Expo, covering 280,000 square feet of the Brown Convention...more

Update on the California High Speed Rail System

James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon. He stated that High-Speed...more

High-Speed Rail Authority May Use Bond Funds – Supreme Court Rules

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”) is gaining more steam in keeping the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”) on track. Today, the California Supreme Court issued a decision declining to review an appellate...more

Level of Detail Adequate in High Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for Central Valley to Bay Area Rail Corridor

Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority (7/24/14, C070877) - The appellate court upheld the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for the Central Valley to Bay Area portion of the route,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - Sep 2014

Evidence of Economic Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Explained (SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) - Why it matters: In upholding the approval of a 260-acre expansion to the...more

Growing Trend: Private Investment in Infrastructure and Transportation

As P3 Bulletin, the New York Times and Richard Cavallaro, the new CEO of international construction company Skanska’s US operations, have recently stated, the increase in private investment and Public Private Partnerships...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #7

Environmental and Policy Focus - Former inspector calls for state's last nuclear plant to be closed: Los Angeles Times - Aug 25 -- A former federal inspector has urged regulators to shut down California's last...more

The Future of Rail 2050

California’s High-Speed Rail project is . . . well . . . very California. Mix some forward, independent thinking (it was first proposed by then (and now) Governor Brown back in the 1980s), with a dash of high tech...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: The California Supreme Court further limits the scope of CEQA review for voter-sponsored initiatives: Allen Matkins - Aug 11: Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code...more

Full Steam Ahead for Eminent Domain Actions after High Speed Rail Authority Negotiations End in Impasse

The State Public Works Board (the “Board”) adopted four Resolutions of Necessity approving the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) use of eminent domain for public necessity to acquire four parcels in Fresno and...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Governor proposes $6 billion water bond for California: Bloomberg - Aug 6: California Governor Jerry Brown has called on lawmakers to put a $6 billion “no-frills” bond measure on the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Appellate court upholds environmental work for high-speed rail via Pacheco Pass: Fresno Bee - Jul 24 -- State appeals justices on Thursday upheld a lower court's approval of an...more

Secretary Foxx Holds Virtual National Town Hall, Addresses Transportation Policy

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx chaired a “virtual” town hall meeting, entitled “Moving from Uncertainty to Long-Term Transportation Investment,” on August 6, 2014. The town hall was open to the general public, as...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Blunts Latest CEQA Attack on California’s High-Speed Train System

On July 24, 2014, California’s Third Appellate District affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority’s) revised final program environmental impact report/environmental impact...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program...more

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