Jerry Brown Appeals HSR Bond Decision to CA Supreme Court

Jan 24th, 2014 | Posted by

Governor Jerry Brown, the California High Speed Rail Authority, and Treasurer Bill Lockyer are appealing to the California Supreme Court to overturn Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny’s ruling last year that the state cannot sell Prop 1A bonds because Congressional Republicans refuse to authorize new federal funding, throwing the earlier funding plan into question:

A petition filed late Friday seeks an expedited review and asks the court to overturn two decisions that prevented the state from selling $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds. The lower-court rulings also require the high-speed rail authority to write a new financing plan.

The governor, the rail authority and the state treasurer argue that the rulings prevent California from quickly starting construction on the $68 billion project. They also say it could hurt California’s ability to finance other voter-approved projects.

The Sacramento Bee has more:

The administration said in a request for expedited review that “the trial court’s approach to these issues cripples government’s ability to function” and could have implications for other infrastructure projects.

The state argues the normal appeals process could take years to resolve and is “not a real choice.”

“Since the project’s inception, opponents of high-speed rail have tried to block its construction,” the filing said. “Now, two rulings of the Sacramento Superior Court – which are otherwise unreviewable as a practical matter – imperil the project by erecting obstacles found nowhere in the voter-approved bond act.”

Here’s the actual filing, and some choice quotes are below the embed:

Petition for Extraordinary Writ of Mandate, Application for Temporary Stay…

just by filing litigation and without having to prove a case, opponents can effectively block financing and shut down a project. If there are multiple issuances of bonds to fund the project in phases, serial litigation can subject government works to the equivalent of ‘death by a thousand cuts.’

Absolutely right. Those who filed the original lawsuit lost at the ballot box and lost in the Legislature. So they threw a Hail Mary pass and incredibly, the court ruled in their favor despite the fact that the funding plan did not violate statute or the state constitution:

Absent evidence that the Authority or the Committee violated statutory or constitutional requirements – and there is none – the trial court should have entered a validation judgment in favor of Petitioners. The fact that the Authority requested and the Committee approved issuance of bonds demonstrates its desirability as a matter of law.

Further, the filing points out that the judge’s proposed remedy is essentially pointless and moot:

The writ compels an idle act: the purpose of the first funding plan was to inform the Legislature’s decision to appropriate funds, the appropriation was made, and the appropriation cannot be changed by a new funding plan. Once the Legislature made its decision, the first funding plan was moot. Compelling the Authority to issue a new plan serves no useful purpose, but it does create confusion and opportunities for mischief….

…if the Tos challengers wanted to stop the Authority from using bond proceeds to build high-speed rail in the Central Valley, they had to allege and prove that the Authority had spent or committed bond proceeds in violation of the Bond Act. As the trial court held, this they failed to do. Accordingly, no writ should have issued….

…because there will not be another request for an initial appropriation to construct high-speed rail in the Central Valley, there is no need for another first funding plan. The writ orders the Authority to engage in a pointless exercise, and thus violates the maxim that the law cannot be used to compel and idle act.

In short, because the first funding plan was designed to inform the Legislature when they debated whether to release the bond funds – which they did in July 2012 – that funding plan doesn’t have to be revised since it’s no longer needed. The Authority is already updating its business plan, including the financing plan, for future purposes and that will likely address questions of future federal funding. But that shouldn’t invalidate bond sales because, as Judge Kenny found, the Legislature already authorized it, was free to do so, and that authorization is not rescinded.

The California Supreme Court should grant expedited review and should overturn Judge Kenny’s ruling.

  1. Mario Tanev
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 18:47
    #1

    I don’t mind if this works out, but I certainly hope that’s not the only plan the governor’s got. If the decision is upheld, he will need to find another source of funding. Given Caltrans’ long term expenditures, it should be possible to find funds.

    joe Reply:

    I think they have a series of plans to find HSR but here they are fighting back against what is seen as judicial interference in their constitutional role as legislature and executive. There is the problem of setting precedent which weakens Executive and Legislative powers.

    They argue that The lawsuits over bonds can effectively stop projects.
    This lawsuit did not find any constitutional or legal violations.

    The judge over-reached,
    The authorization of the bonds by the legislature de facto proves the desirability by law, the legislature issuing the bonds is proof enough. The judge is overreaching by dictating how the legislature must conduct their constitutional duties – debate and pass laws.

    The writ also orders the Authority to engage in a pointless exercise – re doing the finance plan for a vote that already happened. That rewrite serves no purpose.

    The lawsuit did not seek to invalidate the appropriation, massive mistake on the plaintiff’s part. IMHO that is how they could have stopped the appropriation and funding. The Judge could declare it invalid for not meeting the proposition requirements.

    The rule of law means the plaintiffs have to litigate competently.

  2. John Nachtigall
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 19:03
    #2

    Amazingly ignoring the fundamental basis of the case which is the fund must be identified BEFORE the line is built. Clearly in prop 1a and clearly pointed out by the judge as deficient. I agree with Brown, this does have an impact on how the government runs…it means they have to follow the law, even when they don’t like it.

    But even more amazing is the level of lying this exposes, When the ruling came out and until they filed this the public story was the ruling was no impediment and everything was fine. Now suddenly it is a huge problem that threatens the project and all projects in the future.

    How can we entrust 70 billon dollars to an organization that can’t even get it’s story straight for 2 months. So embarrassing.

    Judge Kennedy was your favorite Robert , ruling against the opposition over and over. But now that he rules against HSR when they obviously are breaking the let and intent of the law and suddenly he is an opposition shill that has no logic behind his opinions.

    They are going to lose again, they are going to be exposed as liars while they do it, and their desperation is going to further erode whatever public support they have left

    Chris J. Reply:

    Wow, you state that HSR will be 70 Billion and you claim the HSR people are lying but you yourself have just lied, isn’t that ironic? Your post is so full of holes it is SO embarrassing. You will say and actually believe anything that doesn’t agree with your world paradigm (or just embellish and exaggerate to the Nth degree) . No matter how many times you tell a lie it doesn’t make it true.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Please explain…how did I lie?

    HSR is planned at 70 billon (actually 68) and I know it will go over budget by at least twice, but I was trying to be nice

    So please, how did I lie?

    Donk Reply:

    The more extreme left or right somebody is, the more likely they are to call someone a liar.

    joe Reply:

    “Amazingly ignoring the fundamental basis of the case which is the fund must be identified BEFORE the line is built.”

    Amazing Plaintiff Incompetence.

    The legality of the appropriation was not challenged. The judge could not, due to this omission, rule on the appropriation’s legality. It cannot be blocked.

    Plaintiff’s attempts to amend their lawsuit were too late and rejected.

    If you think the fundamental basis for the appropriation is not legal then you have to sue to block the appropriation.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well Joe, I guess we will find out. The Judge was no idiot and rules for HSR several times so he had no grudge against the authority. They are arguing that the ruling was so deficient they don’t even have to wait to appeal.

    I know you are not going to convince me and I am not going to convince you so we will just have to see how the court rules

    joe Reply:

    No one called him an idiot. Being wrong isn’t idiotic. They argue the case is urgent. An appeal will take years. The timeliness of a ruling is important.

    Kenny was dealing with a flawed lawsuit – Plaintiffs did not file a case that allowed him to rule on the legality of the appropriation. He ruled on the compliance of the 2011 funding plan used to inform the legislature and how the committee made its decision to approve the bond.

    Had the Plaintiffs challenged the legality of the appropriation Kenny could have ruled the 2011 finance plan they used to approve the appropriation was not compliant (in his view) and invalidated the appropriation. No funding. The lawsuit would be argued and appealed on those grounds.

    By ruling the funding plan was not compliant but NOT ruling against the appropriation the reworking of the funding plan serves no purpose. Redoing the 2011 funding plan is a exercise that fixes nothing – no new appropriation must be issued. Thus the appeal is over the uselessness of the writ.

    I’ve harped that the plaintiffs blew it and I think this appeal proves the point. If you accept the appropriation then arguing the data used to feed the decision were not correct is pointless, Plaintiffs accepted the appropriation by not suing to challenge its legality.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …but think of all the billable hours….

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    the Supreme Court has not agree to even take the case yet. But lets say you are right for a moment, then why have they been talking about how the case is not a killer and there is no smoke or fire here and everything is ok…then turn around an file an urgent appeal straight to the Supreme Court of CA that states the opposite.

    If the original writ is not an impediment to CAHSR then the urgency is not needed and they can appeal through normal channels. They were either lying then or lying now.

    You say the plaintiffs blew it, I say the authority keeps blowing it every day. It is a never ending array of self inflicted wounds with them.

    joe Reply:

    The state has a right to a prompt hearing not taking years to decide that the voter approved funding is available for construction.

    The Plaintiffs admitted they blew it by trying to amend the lawsuit to include the appropriation and failing.

    The Appeal explains the legal mistake’s significance – Fixing the 2011 funding plan that informed the legislature for deciding the appropriation is now an meaningless act. The appropriation is complete and valid. No new appropriation is needed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    But their argument relies on the fact they have not spent the money. So even if they win, the opponents can just wait for them to spend a dollar using the defective plan(i.e. They don’t have all the money for the identified usable segment) and sue again because they didn’t follow prop1a.

    The authority has to solve the underlying cause, they don’t have the funds identified

    joe Reply:

    The Legislature approved the funding and it’s “Game Over man.” The Judge found no basis to invalidate the state funding due to a defective plan. Funding appropriated.

    Kenny wants the State to fix the 2011 plan and halted the appropriated bond money until the plan is fixed.

    The State is arguing the 2011 Plan is worthless now. It was used to approve the funding – a completed act. Mandating the Authority fix the 2011 plan is a useless act. Useless acts are not allowable remedies.

    Technicalities that have no meaningful remedy cannot be used to halt the project.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So in your opinion, there is no remedy to them failing to have all the funds identified prior to construction of the first usable segment (which they defined) being started. Everyone here keeps mentioning that the voters approved the law. They did, but there is content of that law that the authority is admitting they have not followed. In the original case the authority did not argue they had the money, they argued that they had more time to get it because they had not spent (or committed) any bond money and so that section of prop 1a did not apply.

    I don’t think that the CA Supreme Court (just like Judge Kennedy) is going to ignore the fact they are in direct violation of the proposition. What kind of precedent does that set?

    I believe the Supreme court will refuse to hear the case and tell them to use the regular appeals process.

    Zorro Reply:

    John This all funding available or no HSR would affect all infrastructure projects that are funded a piece at a time, no project has ever had funding available like that, as an example: people could block a repaving project on this basis…

    IOS isn’t even in Prop1a at all, a useable segment is a segment with at minimum of 2 stations, the lawsuit is wrong and the idea of the Judge wanting a new funding plan that is only used to get an appropriation passed by the legislature, that has already happened, that will not be voted on again and that the plaintiffs failed to stop, is ludicrous.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Zorro, you’re wrong when you say “no project has ever had funding available like that.” In fact many projects do have full funding available from the start, including the early US road projects, or just about any Swiss rail project I know of. In Switzerland they don’t chicken out the way they did in California – they go to ballot on the full budget, not just on 21% of it.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Hi Zorro, you seem new here so I will repost yet again.

    Per the law, a usable segment as identified (2A) has may more requirements than just 2 stations.

    First, the money has to be identified (2D) and the EIR done (2K) before construction starts

    When done ready for HSR operation, not some freight train or Amtrak (2H and 2I)

    and no subsidy (2J)

    Now joe will be quick to point out that 2I says “can” not “shall”, but even given that creative interpretation, the other sections say “would” or “Will”

    In short, a useable segment is much more than 2 stations.

    (2) The plan shall include, identify, or certify to all of the following:
    (A) The corridor, or usable segment thereof, in which the authority is
    proposing to invest bond proceeds.
    (B) A description of the expected terms and conditions associated with any
    lease agreement or franchise agreement proposed to be entered into by the
    authority and any other party for the construction or operation of passenger
    train service along the corridor or usable segment thereof.
    (C) The estimated full cost of constructing the corridor or usable segment
    thereof, including an estimate of cost escalation during construction and
    appropriate reserves for contingencies.
    (D) The sources of all funds to be invested in the corridor, or usable segment
    thereof, and the anticipated time of receipt of those funds based on expected
    commitments, authorizations, agreements, allocations, or other means.
    (E) The projected ridership and operating revenue estimate based on
    projected high-speed passenger train operations on the corridor or usable segment.
    (F) All known or foreseeable risks associated with the construction and
    operation of high-speed passenger train service along the corridor or usable
    segment thereof and the process and actions the authority will undertake to
    manage those risks.
    (G) Construction of the corridor or usable segment thereof can be completed
    as proposed in the plan.
    (H) The corridor or usable segment thereof would be suitable and ready for
    high-speed train operation.
    (I) One or more passenger service providers can begin using the tracks or
    stations for passenger train service.
    (J) The planned passenger service by the authority in the corridor or usable
    segment thereof will not require a local, state, or federal operating subsidy.
    (K) The authority has completed all necessary project level environmental
    clearances necessary to proceed to construction.

    And for the record, I agree, they should have never written it that way. But they had to, see they needed to convince voters that there would not be an abandoned line when they ran out of money. so it was a feature, not a bug. from the official voter guide

    http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/past/2008/general/argu-rebut/argu-rebutt1a.htm

    Proposition 1A will protect taxpayer interests.

    •Public oversight and detailed independent review of financing plans.
    •Matching private and federal funding to be identified BEFORE state bond funds are spent.
    •90% of the bond funds to be spent on system construction, not more studies, plans, and engineering activities.
    •Bond financing to be available to every part of the state.
    •The most cost-efficient construction segments to have the highest priority.

    I like how they capitalized BEFORE to emphasize it was protected.

    In summary, they have to follow the law as written, no matter how flawed

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Zorro=VBobier. Not sure why he is repeatedly changing names.

    joe Reply:

    “Zorro, you’re wrong when you say “no project has ever had funding available like that.” In fact many projects do have full funding available from the start, including the early US road projects,”

    No these road projects do not have the billions line up , for example the IOS is similar to expanding HW 85 from 101 N to 101 S. The 85 project never had all money up front. The connected the smaller N 101 – 280 and later expanded from 280 to 101 S. The initial segment was also incapable of coping with the traffic when connected so they added a lane on the older segment.

    These was a classic way projects are funded. part by part without demanding the project show positive ROI value for each part. The full 85 project’s value (Like an IOS) motivated the first segment (ICS).

    joe Reply:

    Now joe will be quick to point out that 2I says “can” not “shall”, but even given that creative interpretation, the other sections say “would” or “Will”

    1 .Any serious quality assurance or test engineer knows requirements and how they write mandates. SHALL and MUST are not CAN and CAPABLE. Certainly lawyers and Legislatures know.

    2. These requirements are necessary for the Funding Plan Mandated by Prop1a. Its sole purpose is to inform the Legislature prior to voting on the Appropriation. They voted. The Judge did not rule the Appropriation was illegal.

    The Plan is no longer needed. Fixing the Plan serves no useful purpose. The remedy to hold HSR funds until the Plan is mad compliant is a useless act. Enforcing an abstract right such as a compliant funding plan is not a lawful remedy.

    That is why Brown Petitioned the Supreme Court.

    Jeff Denham’s HSR hearings and GAO request illustrate the urgency. Thanks Jeff.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    interesting, so you think these are plan requirements, not project requirements?

    And since you think the plan means nothing, then now they are “past that gate” and nothing applies. So they can do whatever they want with the bond funds. Build whatever segments they wish, subsidize service, heck even spend the funds on highways, because they can do whatever they wish (an example used in the Supreme Court Filing brief).

    I disagree joe. The law has to mean something. These were specific requirements. On funding

    (2) The plan shall include, identify, or certify to all of the following:
    (D) The sources of all funds to be invested in the corridor, or usable segment
    thereof, and the anticipated time of receipt of those funds based on expected
    commitments, authorizations, agreements, allocations, or other means.

    The plan SHALL include the sources of ALL the funds to be invested in the USABLE SEGMENT. its plain as day. Here is what the judge said.

    the identification of funds must be based on a reasonable present expectation of receipt on a projected date, and not merely a hope or possibility that such funds may become available. It the same with the EIR section, it says SHALL!!!

    You keep concentrating on the failure to invalidate the appropriation. But the plan is not meaningless, it shows the intent of the authority. If their intent is not to follow the plain language of the law then in a civil society there has to be recourse. In the US it is the courts.

    I am tired of the characterization of these suits as frivolous. The law was passed with specific safeguards. These safeguards were part of the pitch to get the law passed. There should be a good faith effort to follow the law. In this case there is not a good faith effort. The assumptions inherent in the the law (that the Feds and private money would pony up 60-90% of the money) were not true. It does not matter why they were not true (tea part obstruction or bad initial assumption) they did not turn out to be true.

    The solution to that is not to ignore the provisions and build what you can anyway, hopefully locking in the state to completing it later because now you have a sunk cost. That is just wrong. Be honest and follow the intent of the law.

    I am not against HSR. I dont think it is the most efficient use of the limited money we have and I dont think we need a 4th mode of long distance transit (in addition to cars, buses, and airplanes) but if they were following the law, as passed, I would have no objections. If they went back and revised the law and got that revision passed I would have no objections. They are doing neither of those things. They are just ignoring the law and that is wrong, Judge Kenny thought so and I hope the CA Supreme Court agrees.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    editing mistake. the sentence “It the same with the EIR section, it says SHALL!!!” should have been its own paragraph, it was obviously not part of the quote from the ruling.

    Zorro Reply:

    Paul Druce Reply:
    January 26th, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Zorro=VBobier. Not sure why he is repeatedly changing names.

    Never heard of the guy. I’m just new here, as John Nachtigall said.

    joe Reply:

    I disagree joe. The law has to mean something. These were specific requirements. On funding

    …You keep concentrating on the failure to invalidate the appropriation. But the plan is not meaningless, it shows the intent of the authority. If their intent is not to follow the plain language of the law then in a civil society there has to be recourse. In the US it is the courts.

    Yes, the Law.

    The Funding Plan is a Prop1A mandated Plan necessary to inform the Legislature prior to their vote. That is the sole purpose of the Plan. It servers no other purpose.

    Prop1A offers no recourse if the Funding Plan is not compliant and the Legislature votes to Appropriate funds.

    The Legislature voted. The Plan is no longer required. Modifying a Plan that has no purpose is a meaningless activity. The remedy is enforcing an abstract right which the Judge recognized is not allowed. This is the basis of the petition.

    Had the Legislature’s Appropriation been challenged and overturned, a Funding Plan would be necessary for any re-vote. It would still have a purpose, to inform the Legislature, and a judge mandating it be compliant (by a lawsuit) would be a meaningful act (IMHO).

    Recognize the Judge concluded that the Legislature can vote to Appropriate funds if a non-compliant plan is submitted.

    joe Reply:

    I am tired of the characterization of these suits as frivolous. The law was passed with specific safeguards. These safeguards were part of the pitch to get the law passed.

    The lawsuit isn’t frivolous. The lawsuit was too narrowly focused on the Funding Plan. The Lawyers, IMHO, botched the lawsuit and they apparently tried to amend the lawsuit to make it more effective but they did so too late in the process. The Judge disallowed their amendment to include the Legislature’s Appropriation. So he was unable to invalidate the Appropriation which means the Mandated Funding Plan with all the SHALL and etc is no longer required. Making it compliant – or not – does not alter The Appropriation. The Funding Plan is no longer needed for any post Appropriation work or decisions.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Joe, I said “early road projects.” Things like the Holland Tunnel, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike (which got a lot of federal funding, but was ready to finance almost entirely out of bonds even before the WPA gave money).

    Joe Reply:

    I think modern example in CA are sufficient and no way does a bridge equate to the IOS. Apples yo a rasin comparison.

    BTE, Since the Golden Gate Bridge went over budget, how did they have all the funds lined up prior?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The GG Bridge paid for itself with tolls. From the motoring public. Gonna charge tolls on them 40 miles of tunnel to Mojave?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Zorro’s exact words were “no project has ever had funding available like that.” There was no “recent Californian” qualification there.

    The Golden Gate Bridge in fact was completed slightly under budget. Nearly all of the financing came from bonds.

    joe Reply:

    He’s right and if you want to use the golden gate bridge as an example you just agreed with him. It’s a bridge vs an IOS spanning hundreds of miles with multiple bridges and tunnels.

    wikipedia:
    “The construction budget at the time of approval was $27 million.
    Construction began on January 5, 1933.[9] The project cost more than $35 million,…”

    At the time of GG approval and when they begin GG construction are different times, different estimates. We may come in under budget too – when we estimate cost and then put out bids and build HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “We may come in under budget too – when we estimate cost and then put out bids and build HSR.”

    Like the Willie B. Bayconic Bridge.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Same article says the GG ran under budget. They got $30 million in bonds, i.e. nearly the entire project cost. With HSR, California went to ballot on barely a fifth of the expected cost. Megaprojects do not come 80% under budget.

    joe Reply:

    1. The GG was not a mega-project. It’s a bridge and the comparison to HSR is still unfair.

    2. GG project went over their initial estimate which was the estimate used to approve the project.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yes, it was a megaproject. The longest suspension bridge in the world is a megaproject. For what it’s worth it’s listed as such on the repository of all knowledge. But if you think it’s too small a comparison, then ARC was fully funded when construction started with the exception of a small overrun that Christie used as an excuse to cancel the project, and Gotthard was fully funded when construction started. These are/were $10 billion projects rather than $30 billion projects, but Switzerland and Jersey have less than a quarter of California’s population.

  3. michael allen
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 19:08
    #3

    Bravo Governor Brown! And the governors argument is very strong. Spending (the power of the purse) is the priority of the legislature, not the governor and not the courts. If the legislature OK’s spending on the bullet train, then that should be final say. Unless the spending is somehow Unconstitutional, which is hard to imagine given the wide discretion the legislature has with taxing and spending. If this court ruling is not overturned, then many other long term infrastructures could be blocked because 100% of the funding is not lined up. Just think about what might happen in another recession, if the state government wanted to stimulate the economy through infrastructure projects. Spending opponents could shut EVERYTHING down.

    Observer Reply:

    Exactly. I can name freeway projects, airport improvements, wastewater treatment plants, and projects to widen roads that were all started without knowing if funds were ever going to be available to totally complete them. Large projects are simply built in phases as funding becomes available as a matter of practicality and necessity – otherwise nothing would get built. This suit was ridiculous to begin with.

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    Michael,

    You clearly don’t understand the issues raised in the litigation. Prop 1A had a series of taxpayer protections in it that the HSRA tried to blow past. The judge ruled “not so fast.” The ruling has no implications for other bond measures that don’t contain those protections.

    It is astonishing that the Governor and his fellow petitioners had the nerve to claim that “The rulings thwart the intent of the voters…” when the central ruling was that the HSRA had thwarted the intent of the voters.

    Observer: You are unaware of the specific taxpayer protection provision of Prop 1A which require funding of an HSR segment to be in place before starting construction, to prevent projects being left unfinished and useless to Californians.

    joe Reply:

    What did the Judge rule? I don’t get the loose lingo you use.

    The Proposition 1A did not provide any provision to invalidate the Appropriation if the funding plan submitted to the Legislature was not valid. He wrote that in his Aug ruling.

    [page 13]
    The Court finds that the writ should not issue in this case to invalidate the legislative appropriation made through SB 1029. The Court reaches this conclusion on substantive and procedural grounds.

    The substantive ground for the Court’s conclusion is that petitioners have not demonstrated that the Authority’s non-compliance with the funding plan requirements of Section 2704.08(c)(2) rendered the subsequent legislative appropriation invalid.

    Nothing in Section 2704.08(c)(2), or elsewhere in Proposition 1A, provides that the Legislature shall not or may not make an appropriation for the high[speed rail project.]

    Observer Reply:

    Let me reword it then. Proposition 1A is a joke; it was very badly written. If large projects had to put up with proposition 1A’s asinine provisions, large projects would all be stagnated.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    yet is not the law. So stop trying to ignore it.

    joe Reply:

    Luckily it is poorly written such that non-compliance in the Prop1A mandated Funding Plan does not invalidate the Appropriation.

    Even more fortunate is the established law is well written and understood. Law clearly does not allow meaningless remedies. The funding plan correct or not – has no bearing on the Appropriation. Compliance now is an abstract act, not allow under the law and Brown seeks to invalidate the Hold on prop1A funds.

    Observer Reply:

    Nobody is ignoring it. What Jerry Brown is not ignoring is a badly written proposition that certain parties are taking advantage of with questionable lawsuits. Jerry Brown is not ignoring it, he is going to the state supreme court who will now decide if the lawsuits are valid or not.

    morris brown Reply:

    @michael allen and others.

    Prop 1A was a voter approved measure; as such the Legislature has, under the Constitution, no right to change its provisions and restrictions.

    Judge Kenney, looked at Prop 1A and correctly decided that the funding plan did not comply in two aspects; 1. identification of funds needed to complete the Authority’s chosen “usable segment”. 2. did not have the needed environmental clearances for the complete chosen “usable segment”.

    This funding is to come from Prop 1A bond proceeds and as such your arguments here about “spending opponents could shut EVERYTHING DOWN” is blatant non-sense. His ruling applies to this case only — the HSR project to be funded (partially) from Prop 1A bonds.

    What is truly amazing now is that Richard heretofore, has maintained they would abide by the Judge’s decision, that it was really no problem, but all of a sudden, they have changed their position and seek to over-turn the Judge’s ruling.

    Just last week in the hearing before Rep. Jeff Denham’s committee, Richard said:

    see:

    4:52 into this excerpt of the hearing

    see YouTube link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81tM-ghbvfw

    Richard:

    There is no prospect that the attorney general will try and sell the bonds … so I don’t want to pretend that there was..

    What the Judge said to us was, go back and re-do your funding plan, to show that it complies.
    My view is that we go back and do exactly what the Judge has said.

    We are not by any stretch of the imagination, Mr. Chairman, going to ignore what the court said. What the court said, before you can go forward, I need you to go back and re-do your funding plan. In my view that means updating the funding plan to be exactly what it was that we presented to the California legislature, that they determined was likely to comply to the bond act….

    but it means that we can comply with the Judge’s ruling, not ignore it…. we would not do that….

    This appeal is exactly the opposite of what Richard testified to at the hearing? Through this appeal they are trying to stay the writ, which demands rescission of the funding plan.

    Resident Reply:

    Perjury. He was asked what their plan was, he testified that it was to redefine the usable segment to be equal to the ICS and resubmit the plan. And in truth we see just day’s later, the actual strategy is to appeal the ruling, not comply to it.

    Are there any laws against lying in testimony in a federal congressional hearing? I seem to recall a few athletes who have had their careers ended and spent many years defending themselves from criminal charges for lying and obfuscating to congress.

    Maybe the chairman of the committee he lied to will have some federal charges brought.

    Alan Reply:

    Bulls***. It’s not perjury when the Governor and the head of a state agency have differing views on an issue. The Governor is taking a larger view of the effect that Judge Kenny’s ruling could have on state government as a whole, and that’s appropriate.

    In any event, you (and the judge) still do not accept the clear statement in the law that a *usable segment* includes *two or more stations*. Period. The concept of the IOS appears nowhere in the law, and that was Judge Kenny’s error in trying to make it so.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Alan

    Bulls*** is your comment here.

    The concept of the IOS appears nowhere in the law, and that was Judge Kenny’s error in trying to make it so.

    It certainly was not Judge Kenney’s error. The Authority, by Richard’s own words, says they (the Authority) chose the IOS as the usable segment, not Judge Kenney.

    joe Reply:

    You verified that IOS appears nowhere in the law.

    Alan Reply:

    Exactly. The Authority created the “IOS” concept in order to make it easier for others to understand the stages of the project. It never appears anywhere in AB3034. Judge Kenny erred by creating new law, when he mandated that the IOS be fully funded. The Authority is entirely within its discretion to define the “usable segment” as anything which meets or exceeds the definition contained in AB3034.

    So if anyone’s full of s***, it’s Morris. As usual.

    joe Reply:

    Yes. The definition is made by the Authority. This is all rooted in a technicality in the 2011 Funding Plan over IOS, “useable segment” and ICS.

    The Authority intended to treat the ICS as the useable segment but they also identified the IOS as an useable segment. Kenny locked on to that inconsistency and went to town. I think the Authority was sloppy and Richard told Denham this month that the Plan was written by his predecessors.

    The fundamental issue is that The 2011 Funding Plan was mandated by Prop1a ONLY to inform the Legislature prior to the Appropriation.
    Modifying the 2011 Plan for compliance is a technicality that has no meaningful value to the Plaintiffs.

    The funding plan at issue in this case is a document the Authority was required by law to prepare, approve, and submit to specified governmental entities as a prerequisite for requesting an appropriation of bond proceeds to begin building the project.

    “[t]he plan shall include, identify, or certify to all” of a list of items set forth in Section 2704.08(c)(2), subsections (A) through (K).

    Petitioners contend that the Authority did not comply with the statute by making the required
    identification and certification of items (D) and (K).

    His ruling on environmental and funding compliance were directed at the 2011 Funding Plan, not the 2013 Project or Contracts or federal Funding.

    Item (D) requires the funding plan to identify the following:

    The sources of all funds to be invested in the corridor, or usable segment thereof, and the anticipated time of receipt of those funds based on expected commitments, authorizations, agreements, allocations, or other means.

    Item (K) requires the funding plan to make the following certification:

    The authority has completed all necessary project level environmental clearances necessary to proceed to construction.

    Withholding funds in 2013 until the 2011 Plan is fixed would not result in any meaningful remedy. He should therefore no hold up Prop1a Funds.

    The Judge cannot invalidate the Appropriation. Therefore there is no need for a new vote and no need for a compliant Funding Plan. The Plan is a prerequisite for an Appropriation Vote. Nothing meaningful results from modifying the Plan. Kenny wrote that remedies cannot enforce an abstract right.

    Unless the writ also invalidated the legislative appropriation for
    the high-speed rail program or subsequent approvals (such as contracts) made in furtherance of the program, issuance of the writ would have no substantial or practical impact on the program. As a matter of general principle, a writ will not issue to enforce a mere abstract right, without any substantial or practical benefit to the petitioner.

    Redoing the 2011 Funding Plan to be compliant has no meaningful benefit to the plaintiffs so blocking all Prop1a HSR funds until this meaningless act is completed is not lawful.

    Alan Reply:

    OK, smart guy. Show us *exactly* where “IOS” appears in AB3034. Chapter and verse.

    You can’t do it, so STFU.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Alan, no need to be rude old chap. We seem to forget the days of putting the prop together and campaigning for it. It was estimated I believe that there would be 10 – 20% waverers who could be brought into the fold if they were reassured that we would not have stranded assets resulting from running out of funds, technical obstacles, or whatever. It would have been quite difficult to cover every contingency in the Prop language but the intention was there to protect those taxpayers who had doubts but supported the Prop with these safeguards. It’s quite clear that many contributors to this blog take the Leninist view and don’t give a darn about these safeguards once the bonds were passed. it doesn’t matter to them what a camel of a horse the CHSRA has come up with and how it cannot possibly operate the initial segment at an operating profit. In fact the strategy is to build something that’s completely useless to force more money to be spent to redeem the failure. Good for the judge to seriously review these issues to protect those that had reservations about the project.
    On another note, Robert calls for expedited review of the case, echoing the Governor. We all of us deserve swift adjudication, why should these bozos jump the line?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I would say it is not perjury because Dan Richard is a professional at changing the phrasing of whatever he is saying just slightly to protect himself from actual perjury.

    I think it is fair to call it incredibly misleading testimony, given that as per the timing of board meetings it seems certain that the decision to go this way would have been discussed by the board during close session the day before the hearing. On the 22nd at a special board meeting, Dan Richard signed a statement signing off on the contents of the 60 page doc.

    joe Reply:

    What terrible things to write about Richard.

    Dan Richard said he had no part in the 20011 Funding Plan, he inherited that Plan when he tool the position and di not define the IOS as a useable segment. He will fix what is under his control and that is defining useable segments. Even the Brown Petition says they commit in future Funding Plans to define useable segments to comply.

    What I think is misleading is stating to the press that loaning HSR 29 Million is risky.

    Thankfully Denham’s Hearing and Charge to the GAO backfired once again. Denham highlighted the urgency and grave consequences to the project. Jerry Brown cited this theatrical show and commentary in his Petition to Supreme Court.

    joe Reply:

    Kenny in Aug found
    1. The Appropriation was not challenged by Plaintiffs and stands as valid. [mistake guys].
    2. The 2011 Funding plan’s compliance (or non-compliance) does not invalidate the Appropriation.
    3. Prop1a offers no relief if the Legislature appropriates using a non-compliant funding plan.
    4. He cannot not enforce an abstract right.

    Go back and redo your funding plan enforces an abstract right. The sole purpose of the 2011 funding plan was to inform the legislature for the appropriation vote. Redoing the funding plan serves no purpose since the Appropriation is valid and no revote is needed.

    [page 13]
    The Court finds that the writ should not issue in this case to invalidate the legislative appropriation made through SB 1029. The Court reaches this conclusion on substantive and procedural grounds.
    The substantive ground for the Court’s conclusion is that petitioners have not demonstrated that the Authority’s non-compliance with the funding plan requirements of Section 2704.08(c)(2) rendered the subsequent legislative appropriation invalid.

    Nothing in Section 2704.08(c)(2), or elsewhere in Proposition 1A, provides that the Legislature shall not or may not make an appropriation for the high[speed rail project.]

    The Judge knows he cannot issue abstract remedies. The Appeal says he did.

    Based on its finding that the funding plan did not comply with the requirements of Section 2704.08(c)(2), the Court is satisfied that issuance of a writ of mandate directing the Authority to rescind its approval of the November 3, 2011 funding plan may, as a matter of abstract right, be an available remedy in this case. However, the Court is not yet convinced that invalidation of the funding plan, by itself, would be a remedy with any real, practical effect. Unless the writ also invalidated the legislative appropriation for program, issuance of the writ would have no substantial or practical impact on the program. As a matter of general principle, a writ will not issue to enforce a mere abstract right, without any substantial or practical benefit to the petitioner.

    The Appeal is correctly calls the reworking funding irrelevant since the Appropriation stands. It offers no practical relief in the case. That delays the to project in practical terms favors the Plaintiffs is not relevant to law under consideration.

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    Your fixation on the appropriation, Joe, indicates that you don’t understand the second ruling (you are quoting only from the first ruling). The appropriation actually has nothing to do with the HSRA’s current legal inability to access bond funds for construction. The judge ruled that the Authority had failed to comply with the bond measure’s requirements to have a fully funded segment with completed environmental review.

    The Authority’s position, which has been wholly adopted by HSRA supporters on this site, is that the first funding plan was only intended to inform the Legislature. The history of the enactment of AB 3034 is that sponsors recognized that the voters would not trust the Legislature to handle ~$10 billion of potential pork. To create a winnable measure, they wrote in further protections to reassure voters that the Legislature couldn’t throw bond money into a project that would remain incomplete and useless.

    The record now shows that, in the absence of the taxpayer protections in the bond measure, as enforced by the courts, the Legislature and Governor are perfectly content with throwing billions at something that has no hope of ever becoming the promised HSR system.

    joe Reply:

    “Your fixation on the appropriation, Joe, indicates that you don’t understand the second ruling (you are quoting only from the first ruling).

    The Authority’s position, which has been wholly adopted by HSRA supporters on this site, is that the first funding plan was only intended to inform the Legislature. ”

    That is exactly what the State is arguing and exactly what Kenny noted in his Aug Ruling. Kenny agreed that the sole purpose of the 2011 funding plan was to inform the Legislature before they vote on the Appropriation.

    You need to talk to TRANSDEF’s legal dept and get up to date.

    Kenny found no lawful basis to invalidate the Appropriation if the 2011 funding plan was not compliant to Prop1a
    Kenny found no Prop1a provision to invalidate the Appropriation if the 2011 funding plan was not complaint to prop1a.

    Kenny wrote that any remedy has to be meaningful – this standard echos exactly what the State is arguing now. Asking the Authority to rework the 2011 funding plan solely produced for a now approved Appropriation is meaningless action. The Appropriation has been approved, the plan rework serves no purpose. Kenny has ordered a meaningless remedy which he noted as a concern in his Aug Ruling.

    The record now shows that, in the absence of the taxpayer protections in the bond measure,

    Judge Kenny found NO protection in Prop1a from the Legislature Appropriating funding with a non-compliant funding plan. HE specifically ruled that fact. I quoted it.

    The Crack Legal team didn’t think to block the Legislature’s Appropriation until after their Second Brief and by then it was too late. That too in in the Aug Ruling.

    joe Reply:

    Morris

    Prop 1A was a voter approved measure; as such the Legislature has, under the Constitution, no right to change its provisions and restrictions.

    Kenny in Aug 2013

    The Court finds that the writ should not issue in this case to invalidate the legislative appropriation made through SB 1029. The Court reaches this conclusion on substantive and procedural grounds.

    The substantive ground for the Court’s conclusion is that petitioners have not demonstrated that the Authority’s non-compliance with the funding plan requirements of Section 2704.08(c)(2) rendered the subsequent legislative appropriation invalid.
    ….
    Nothing in Section 2704.08(c)(2), or elsewhere in Proposition 1A, provides that the Legislature shall not or may not make an appropriation for the high[speed rail project.]

    I’m not a Constitutional Scholar. Clearly Judge Kenny did not see any Constitutional or Propositional violation.

  4. morris brown
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 19:30
    #4

    Associated Press article on this direct appeal to the Supreme Court…

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/calif-high-speed-rail-amtrak-joint-train-bid-21662883

    Calif. High Court Asked to Take up High-Speed Rail
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. January 25, 2014 (AP)
    By JULIET WILLIAMS Associated Press

    Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on Friday petitioned the California Supreme Court to overturn two lower-court rulings that have stalled progress on the state’s high-speed rail project, one of the nation’s most expensive public works projects.

    The petition seeks an expedited review and asks the court to overturn two decisions that prevented the state from selling $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds. The lower-court rulings also require the high-speed rail authority to write a new financing plan.

    The governor, the rail authority and the state treasurer argue that the rulings prevent California from quickly starting construction on the $68 billion project and could hurt the state’s ability to finance other voter-approved projects in the future, a change of course for the officials, who previously said the rulings wouldn’t significantly affect the project.

    “The trial court’s approach to these issues cripples government’s ability to function,” the 49-page petition filed late Friday said. “The rulings thwart the intent of the voters and the Legislature to finance the construction of high-speed rail, and do so in a manner that has implications for other important infrastructure projects.”

    A Sacramento County Superior Court judge last year sided with opponents, who claimed the state failed to comply with the promises made to voters when they approved Proposition 1A in 2008.

    He rescinded the rail authority’s funding plan, ordered it to get more environmental clearances and show how it will pay for the first 300 miles of work, which is estimated to cost about $31 billion.

    Stuart Flashman, one of the attorneys for the Central Valley landowners who sued the rail authority, called the state’s request to the high court unprecedented and “mind-boggling.”

    “They’re basically saying the courts have no right to do anything to stop this project,” Flashman said. “When you think about it, it’s incredibly disrespectful to the judiciary, very in-your-face, just — ‘Shut up and let us go do what we want.’”

    Friday’s urgent filing casting the judge’s rulings as potentially devastating to the project is at odds with repeated claims made by high-speed rail officials and the governor. Rail authority CEO Jeff Morales said after the judge’s November ruling that addressing the judge’s concerns would not take long and that he did not think it would “have any material effect on the project.”

    The state’s petition says that if the Supreme Court does not review the case, allow the state to sell bonds and proceed with construction, “the future of the high-speed rail system may effectively be determined by two superior court rulings untethered from the law approved by the Legislature and the voters to build it.”

    Plans to build a 520-mile network linking Northern and Southern California have been plagued by years of legal and political setbacks. Construction that was scheduled to begin in the Central Valley in spring 2013 is now forecast to start sometime this spring. The state financing plan had relied upon significant federal investments to prop up the project, but congressional Republicans have effectively blocked further high-speed rail funding.

    The federal government has awarded $3.5 billion in grants to the project, including $2.5 billion in federal stimulus money that requires a dollar-for-dollar match and must be spent by 2017. But without access to the voter-approved bonds, California has been unable to make its matching payments.

    Federal officials testified during a recent hearing in Washington, D.C., that the funding could be halted if California does not make a $180 million contribution due in May.

    In an unrelated development earlier Friday, the rail authority and Amtrak released a joint request for proposals to build trains for California’s planned bullet train and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

    The request calls for 15 so-called “trainsets,” which can travel at minimum speeds of 200 mph, for the high-speed rail project, and 28 trainsets for Amtrak’s Acela line, which runs between Boston and Washington, D.C. Each trainset will have 400 to 450 seats distributed throughout several cars, determined by the bidders.

    Unlike on a conventional train, the engines will be distributed throughout the cars.

    joe Reply:

    Plaintiffs failed to challenge the legality of the Appropriation.
    Recognizing the mistake, Plaintiffs later tired to amend the lawsuit but the Judge ruled it was too late.

    “When you think about it, it’s incredibly disrespectful to the judiciary, very in your face just – ‘Shut up and admit you blew it – big time Stuart.’”

    Alan Reply:

    Actually, I think the Tos plaintiffs did ask the court to rescind the appropriation. The court refused for two reasons: One, the court stated that it did not have the authority to rescind a legislative act, and two, even if it did, the plaintiffs did not include the Legislature as defendants.

    joe Reply:

    In the opening Brief, Plaintiffs did not ask to invalidate the Appropriation – they wanted to invalidate the funding plan. They later wished to add the Appropriation but the Authority Objected and Kenny agreed they could not amend in a second brief. Too late – they blew it. From Aug 2013:

    Thus, in the opening brief, petitioners focus potential relief on the invalidation of the funding plan itself and on the invalidation of subsequent approvals taken in reliance on the funding plan. Their argument mentions the subsequent legislative appropriation in passing, but does not explicitly state that the Court should invalidate the appropriation itself. The Second Amended Petition and Complaint does not explicitly seek such relief, and does not name the Legislature as a respondent.

    [page 12]
    In their reply brief, petitioners reiterate their argument that the Court should declare the funding plan to be invalid and order it to be rescinded, and also declare any actions taken in reliance on that plan to be invalid, describing any such actions as ultra vires acts. In addition, petitioners also assert for the first time that the Court’s writ should extend to the legislative appropriation made on the basis of the funding plan.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re right–they asked for it in their reply brief. Even so, Judge Kenny stated that he had no authority.

    joe Reply:

    It’s a massive legal mistake IMHO. That’s why they tried to amend when someone realized what they had missed.

    Without invalidating the Appropriation, invalidating the Funding Plan offers their clients no meaningful remedy. Kenny cannot block access to Prop1a Funds until the Authority complies with a meaningless, and therefore unlawful remedy.

    Live by the technicalities, die by the technicalities.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    thats power not engines

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Modern HS trains, however, put traction motors in almost every car for better force distribution and a more-comfortable ride. Distributing power over more axles also lets trains accelerate and decelerate faster. That’s because the powered wheels rely on friction between the wheels and rail to transmit power. Sending all the power to only two or three axles, especially when starting out from a dead stop, increases the likelihood that the power would overcome the friction and spin the wheels. There are also conditions, even with distributed power, when there’s not enough friction to get a large train rolling or up an incline. Ice or wet leaves, for example, can severely limit the frictional force and cause wheels to slip. To overcome this, HS trains carry dry sand, just like their slower-speed cousins. It gets dropped in front of powered wheels to increase frictional forces

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, distributed power does not really mean more comfortable ride. Among the most comfortable HS rides are with ICE-2 trainsets of the Deutsche Bahn, with air-suspension trucks. The ICE-3 (with distributed power) run a bit rougher, and are also noisier (somewhat). But distributed power is the way to go…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Thank you Keith, I didn’t know any of that….

  5. Paul H.
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 19:41
    #5

    It was pretty clear that this case would go to the California Supreme Court, there’s no way a few farmers and lawyers are going to stop a constitutionally mandated infrastructure program that was voter approved and given appropriations by the legislator. I expect the CA Supreme’s to side with the Governor.

    trentbridge Reply:

    +1

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Damn straight! Farmers are little people. The laws and courts are not for them.

    Travis D Reply:

    A farmer that opposes the project is no one I want to share this country with. A bunch of short sighted idiots if you ask me.

    blankslate Reply:

    That democracy thing is so damned inconvenient.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The constitutionally mandated ballot prop came with a few restrictions attached. Legal opinions are divided on whether the state’s current plan meets those restrictions.

    Zorro Reply:

    +2 Paul H.

  6. Donk
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 20:10
    #6

    Jerry Brown’s the man.

  7. jimsf
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 20:51
    #7

    Whats weird that all proponents want is a integrated system of transportation that includes high spped rail because we know that mobility in a state this large with an economy this big, is critical and it makes sense to add hsr to the transportation mix as it fills a niche that airlines and auto cant fill.

    BUT, opponenets, cite all kinds of craziness that so blatenly fear based its bizarre. the arguments about need, routes, and costs are obviously disingenuous.

    but that is usually the case when it comes to progress and change. Ive seen it over and over again for decades. its just something in the personality make of what we now call “conservatives” ( a misnomer really).

    their entire m.o is fear based.

    tres bizarre.

  8. Observer
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 21:12
    #8

    Go Jerry Brown. Nip this nonsense in the bud.

    Zorro Reply:

    Agreed Observer.

  9. Elizabeth
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 23:38
    #9

    Holy catfish.

    Hey legal people – I looked at brief. Jerry Brown etc are the plaintiff and the superior court is the respondent. How does this work? Does the judge respond? Is this just up to the Supreme court?
    Are there other precedents for this?

    E

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I believe it is similar to an ex parte or habeas corpus writ action. The Governor is filing a collateral legal action that is separate. But because in state courts the Supreme Court can do automatic referrals (advisory opinions), the motion doesn’t need to arrive in lower courts first.

    Peter Reply:

    The “Real Parties in Interest”, aka the plaintiffs, are the ones who will respond.

  10. TRANSDEF
    Jan 24th, 2014 at 23:39
    #10

    My question for Robert:

    You seem to believe everything the HSRA tells you. How will you cope when the Supreme Court tells them to take a hike? I hope your head doesn’t explode!

    If you were less credulous, you would recognize this extremely rare extraordinary writ petition as an act of screaming desperation–one they put a lot of legal resources into. They did it because they finally had to admit to themselves and to the world that they’ve run out of options.

    You heard it here: This HSR project (not all HSR, mind you) has seen the Beginning of the End.

    Alan Reply:

    Nonsense. TRANSDUMB is just bitter because they can’t get anyone to accept their world view that TRANSDUMB, and only TRANSDUMB, is the One True Aribiter of what is right for California and for transportation.

    blankslate Reply:

    Wow. Is this a high speed rail blog or a 3rd grade detention hall?

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Are you insulting my 3rd grader?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Probably but the Judge is the one being insulted by Jerry & Kamala’s jedi mind trick.

    But in March, assuming he is still on the case, he should be forewarned that making nice does not work with Jerry Brown in hopes he will come out of his coma and perform. Slap on the remedies forthwith and compel a real appeal, no hail mary’s after 2 months of vegetating and vacillating.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pelosi and her covens aren’t in charge of the mind rays anymore?

    joe Reply:

    You seem to believe everything the HSRA tells you. How will you cope when the Supreme Court tells them to take a hike? I hope your head doesn’t explode!

    .. They did it because they finally had to admit to themselves and to the world that they’ve run out of options.

    How serious. Is this comment from TRANSDEF Legal Department or the Office of Public Affairs?

    They appealed because they think they are right and should not have to wait years on Appeal. They also did it to remove precedent over future litigation.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    This is not an appeal. It is somethingdifferent. Any legal people know a precedent?

    joe Reply:

    I look forward to a clarification.

    I will have to send a Thank You NOTE to Jeff Denham R-CA for his sub-committee hearings and his request the GAO investigate the Authority. Congressman Denham created additional evidence , at the federal level in support of the Court accepting the Petition and ruling in their favor.

    [31]
    Despite these declarations of urgency, the trial court’s rulings have blocked access to bond funds appropriated by the Legislature for the foreseeable future and cast a cloud of uncertainty over the entire voter approved project. As a direct result of these two rulings, Congress has initiated hearings and an investigation by the Government Accountability Office in an effort to pressure federal funding partners to withhold billions of dollars in matching federal grants to construct the Central Valley portion federal funding until sufficient non-Federal funds are available.

    Alan Reply:

    You’re correct that it’s not an appeal. But the state’s filing cites lots of precedents.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I looked at the list = none were suits against superior courts

    Peter Reply:

    They’re asking the California Supreme Court to exercise “original jurisdiction”, where they are not officially appealing a lower court’s decision (because it’s not appealable at this procedural stage, the petition discusses the procedural steps that would otherwise be needed in order to appeal it). It essentially is asking for an expedited bypass of the appeals process, which nonetheless works out to the equivalent of an appeal. Which is legal, but is also why Flashman and the plaintiffs are flipping out. They were looking forward to lengthy delays.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I see this with the funding plan case -sort of. (Let’s ignore for the moment that the arguments in it directly contradict the arguments the Authority used/ is using to say they have not committed state bond funds and ignore that there are a part a and part b to the case because the authority asked for that)

    The validation case however does have a final judgement. Why wouldn’t an appeal suffice there?

    joe Reply:

    [paragraph 26]

    “both decision are effectively unreviewable on appeal”
    “The issue is time.”
    “The Authority is face with a ‘Hobson’s Choice’”
    “The Authority has to be prudent with public funds to use federal grant funds before they expire in 2017″

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Authority will argue legal delays are an “injury” that compels them to file for relief. The Supreme Court has no choice but to take the case or face the legislature passing a bill that would give CA Supreme Court original jurisdiction in all these CEQA delayed mega projects.

    If this precedent is upheld is a huge defeat for the groups that use litigation to hold projects hostage. Given the number of Republicans on the Supreme Court, I think the motion is granted even if the Court doesn’t overturn the lower courts effective standard.

  11. nat
    Jan 25th, 2014 at 10:23
    #11

    For those of you who live in Sacramento, if Siemens wins the bid for high speed trainsets, they will likely be built in the Capitol City and many high paying, highly skilled job opportunities will be created. Way to go to all of those trying real hard to JumpStart America’s economic engine and helping America once again compete in the HSR global economy. I have no objections to a German company teach us how to build HSR trainsets in Sacramento, so eventually one day we will do it on our own. Didn’t we teach the Chinese how to build most of the SAS portion of the Bay Bridge when we could have built it here with American workers?

    Observer Reply:

    This is not to mention what could have been, but did not happen because of the lost opportunities in Florida, Wisconsin, and Florida.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Any HS trains ordered for California any time in the next 20 years will be purely for show, and will never be useful.

    As such, it’s appropriate that they would be assembled (ie screwed together) by a small collection of photo-op “blue collar” average joes, backed up by a shell corporation (inevitably run by defense contractor insider types) that launders public money into “Buy American” trains, taking train parts and designs that may well have once worked, slapping American flags on them, changing all the millimetres to pounds and the pascals to furlongs, doubling or tripling the price, and delivering something that barely spends any time outside a workshop.

    The real expertise and long term value (and inherently local value) is in maintaining equipment, but that’s not photo-op and it’s not quite as lucrative a get-rich-quick scam as “Buy American” shell corporateering.

    And since any “high speed” trains screwed together in a potemkin factory in California any time in the next 20 years will never be needed for high speed rail service, the maintenance (as opposed to basic engineering ECOs and do-overs and fixes for where they mis-translated celsius into slugs in the process of America Ruggedizing the trains into tanks) isn’t going to be happening.

    So, yeah. A few photo-op blue collar Joe Six Packs who get to use screwdrivers for a while.
    A make-believe factory.
    A very very lucrative shell Buy American trade-exclusion shell corporation, with kickbacks generously awarded to make sure nothing anti-capitalist like competitive procurement occurs.
    A bunch of shop-queen broken-down trains assembled that are two decades out of date, break down constantly from day one, never meet performance specs, don’t come within many furlongs (leagues! rods! chains!) of any first-world reliability metric, and never actually run in high speed service because the high speed rail line isn’t completed until the trains are past their end of life.

    The best part of all of this is that the same shell corporation will get follow-on orders, building upon earlier “success”.

    Capitalism is wonderful!

    PS “Teaching the Chinese how to build … the Bay Bridge”? You mean “teach” them how to go 600% over-budget on an inherently worthless, seismically dubious, decade late, and laughably non-functional scams? Because that’s the only place that America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals (we’re looking at you and your Very Very Very Special Contractor friends, MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger) can “teach” anybody anything.

    Stephen Smith Reply:

    Capitalism is wonderful!

    I don’t see any capitalists involved in CHSRA…

    swing hanger Reply:

    Quite. A true capitalist venture would tell those contractors and “transportation experts” to GTFO.

  12. Howard
    Jan 25th, 2014 at 10:27
    #12

    It’s time to pass an California oil severence tax to fund CHSR, local transit, highways, UC, CSU and community colleges capitol improvement projects. We are the only state in the US that does not tax oil drilling. This dedicated funding source would match the Prop 1A funds (and carbon cap-and-trade funds); therefore, unlocking the Prop 1A funds. This oil severence tax revinue would be reliable enough to even bond against.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Any severance tax should only go to transportation or parks. No more bailing out homeowners.

    EJ Reply:

    Seriously, man, why is this so hard? It’s a serious question, every time I look into it I’m baffled why we haven’t been able to do it. Everyone looks at the benefit of oil severance taxes to places like Alaska and Norway, but somehow we just can’t get it done here.

  13. synonymouse
    Jan 25th, 2014 at 11:31
    #13

    Where do I sign the petition to put Prop 1a back on the ballot?

    trentbridge Reply:

    If you go to the Secretary of State’s website, you’d see that TWO propositions are waiting for the official wording to be resolved (14-004 “Stop the $100 Billion Dollar High-Speed Rail and Reinvest in Education Act” and 14-001 “The Transportation Innovation Act”) that requires the State to stop issuing bonds for HSR. Then you and your friends can find the 504,760 registered voters who share your concerns. Since about twenty percent of people who sign these propositions turn out to be not-registered voters – you will need a minimum of 680,000 signatures.

    Good luck!

    Derek Reply:

    As long as the wording has a neutral point of view and is devoid of misrepresentations (unlike the two propositions as currently written), I’m confident that California voters will send the signal to lawmakers that they want the project to proceed.

    EJ Reply:

    Well I’d sure like a $43 billion project that’s ready to roll between LA and SF in 10 years, which is what prop 1A promised. Alas, that’s not what we’re talking about in 2013 anymore.

    Zorro Reply:

    And I’d like the US Dollar to stop dropping in value, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

    Derek Reply:

    Where did Prop 1A promise that it would cost $43 billion? That number wasn’t in the official summary of the proposition on the ballot.

    Observer Reply:

    Be careful what you wish for. If they can kill the current proposal off, they will kill off any HSR proposal. As imperfect as the current proposal is, it may be best to leave well enough alone, otherwise we may not not get another chance at HSR, at least not in our lifetimes.

    StevieB Reply:

    The petitions are not going to be circulated to qualify for the ballot. The politicians that filed the petitions goal was to get their name in the media as authors of the propositions. That accomplished the propositions will die for lack of interest.

    trentbridge Reply:

    Most probably true – it takes a moneyed interest group making a concerted effort to circulate the petitions in enough places to find the required signatures. There’s a strict time limit and there are numerous other uses for any money in an election year like 2014. It only costs $200 to file but millions to get it on the ballot and several millions to get it passed. Highly unlikely.

  14. jimsf
    Jan 25th, 2014 at 20:53
    #14

    Meanwhile, putting the polictical sideshow aside, the state is moving forward on the right track with the right vision, step by step

    The Northern California Unified Rail Service concept is meant to provide optimal one-seat ride options for the passengers from Northern to Southern California through collaboration by the participating agencies and sharing of equipment, interlining trains, joint (or “shared”) track capacity, common ticketing and public information services, and leveraging funding resources aimed at creating a fully integrated rail network for California.
    The goals of the partnership include the following:
    1. To jointly identify and pursue a defined set of early, integrated projects and operating plans for the Northern California Unified Rail Services Concept which would make the IOS segment available for passenger service as soon as practicable. These improvements may include, but are not limited to, public safety, high quality passenger rail services, equipment, facilities and amenities, system capacity, consistent service reliability (on-time performance), connectivity to local/regional public transport services, dedicated feeder bus services integrated operations, and improved train speeds

  15. John Nachtigall
    Jan 25th, 2014 at 23:48
    #15

    On a separate note, guess what?

    What John?

    There are more safety concerns about the Bay Bridge!!

    Impossible, they have already raised concerns about faked concrete inspection, using the wrong process for the bolts that hold it together, and the welding. What else is left?

    Well apparently the stell decks bough from China have more cracks in the welds. And Caltrans told the engineers to keep it quiet

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_24970599/bay-bridge-construction-managers-systematically-shut-down-safety

    Interesting, but what does this have to do with HSR you might ask?
    The same people who ran that project are running CAHSR.

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/Jeff_Morales_Bio.pdf
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jon-tapping-pe/8/ab2/269

    With an excellent track record like that, what could possibly go wrong?

    joe Reply:

    Let’s put JP Morgan in charge of the finances, PG&E for safety oversight, Lockheed Martin the prime for Construction and Facebook can manage all ticket sales.

  16. therealist
    Jan 26th, 2014 at 09:41
    #16

    JERRY FOR PREZ !!!

  17. Ben
    Jan 26th, 2014 at 10:24
    #17

    I read that the STB will conduct a 9-month analysis of the HSR project, including its “financial fitness,” which will be completed in September. Does this mean that construction cannot begin until this analysis is completed? What if the STB finds it is not financially fit; can they order the project to be stopped at that point, ordering the FRA to take back its $3.3 billion?

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    link please

    Ben Reply:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-bullet-feds-20131205,0,3331748.story

    It’s at the end.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    In a potential signal of more trouble, the federal board’s vice chairman Ann Begeman issued a statement calling for a comprehensive analysis of the project’s “financial fitness.” She added, “Today’s decision acknowledges the growing controversy regarding California’s bond funding process.”

    “calling for”

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-bullet-feds-20131205,0,3331748.story#ixzz2rXKIKsoY

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    In a statement Wednesday, the authority’s chief executive, Jeff Morales, said, “We will continue working with the Board as they consider the petition and continue work on the section already approved and underway.” An authority representative said there was no plan to renegotiate the contract with Tutor Perini because it has until July 2014 to get the clearance from the board without renegotiating the deal.

    “Nothing suggests that today’s ruling will not allow us to make that deadline,” the representative said. The federal board said its review is set for nine months, resulting in a decision by September 2014

    The review is of the 5 miles south of Fresno which Morales says he can work around
    Analysis of the project’s “financial fitness” has been called for by Ann Begeman.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-bullet-feds-20131205,0,3331748.story#ixzz2rXNVjVpu

    joe Reply:

    Ann Begeman’s comments on finances illustrate the urgency. The Supreme Court must accept Brown’s Petition. She and Denham are helping to make this a very important petition.

    She also illustrates why it’s bad policy to appoint your opponent’s staffers into Government when you win an election. She was John McCain’s Chief of Staff. Not a smart move by the President to show the opposition he is a nice guy.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Joe,

    Part of the STB’s job is to review the financial health of railroads and of new projects that affect interstate commerce. She was well within her right as a board member to push for this. Please read up on the STB here:

    http://www.stb.dot.gov/stb/about/overview.html

    “The STB serves as both an adjudicatory and a regulatory body. The agency has jurisdiction over railroad rate and service issues and rail restructuring transactions (mergers, line sales, line construction, and line abandonments); certain trucking company, moving van, and non-contiguous ocean shipping company rate matters; certain intercity passenger bus company structure, financial, and operational matters; and rates and services of certain pipelines not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”

    Being under the purview of the STB has some good and bad points for CA HSR. The good being relaxed environmental review as compared to CA laws, the bad being things like a STB financial review or audit of the HSR project.

    joe Reply:

    ” She was well within her right as a board member to push for this. ”

    Which means appointing political people to these position is bad policy.

    She was McCain’s Senatorial Chief of Staff – a political position. These are political jobs with poitical people who hold party affiliations and have financial ties to a political party.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    You are correct. Obama should have tried to appoint qualified people more supportive of his and his party’s policies. But that being said, I’m not sure if the STB or the old ICC was ever very much politicized. But it is in their duty to do a financial review/analysis of every project that comes under their jurisdiction. Let’s hope that the STB makes a quick and positive finding.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I went to the STB site and can’t find anything on that.

    I did see this – just filed Friday.

    http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/e316bb4e145bc2e485257c6a0057843f/$FILE/235345.pdf

    oops. I’m sure there is some poor overworked associate who is feeling very bad right now

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry:

    “We don’t need no stinkin’ STB.”
    “We don’t need no stinkin’ Judge.”
    “We don’t need no stinkin’ Prop 1a.”

    I am guessing that at a certain level the judiciary is a tightly closed community that follows itself carefully. To wit the Federal judge in Jerry’s war over prison funding must be taking note of Jerry’s chicanery with the Kerry ruling. I think the operative adjective would be “comtemptuous”. Perhaps the Feds more likely to come down on Jerry’s general attitude of non-compliance like a ton of bricks.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    On the other hand, actions have consequences – particularly in the political arena

    http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-supreme-court-justice-calls-for-more-funds-for-court-system-20140114,0,4921755.story#axzz2rTEZIW8j

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    It is hard to take their budget request seriously. The court system spent over $500 million for an online document management system that they could never get to work. There were also some dubious building renovation projects that went way over budget.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    ironically (?) it was projects like the court software project that led to additional safeguards on hsr, which people saw as much larger money pit

    synonymouse Reply:

    A greater irony perhaps is that it is up to the courts – and in the real world solely – to enforce the safeguards.

  18. Thomas
    Jan 26th, 2014 at 12:37
    #18

    Just so that I understand correctly, what needs to happen in order for the Authority to access the Prop 1A bonds? Environmental clearance and a revised funding plan? If so, who would have the final say in whether the funding plan would be legal or not?

  19. morris brown
    Jan 26th, 2014 at 15:54
    #19

    From the Sac Bee:

    Brown’s great high-speed cap-and-trade dystopian railroad fantasy

    All the ferroequinologists here should love it

    see:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/26/6099691/ben-boychuk-browns-great-high.html

    Joe Reply:

    The Money quote in this opinion piece is here:

    “I’m not a declinist and I don’t relish the thought of a “dystopian” California. After all, I have kids. It would be nice for them to come of age in a prosperous Golden State. Why should they have to settle for a carless life in a Fresno condo, with a 90-minute train commute to Los Angeles or the Bay Area?”

    It’s a 60-70 min train ride to SV from Fresno but I agree so
    let’s start building 5 story condos in Menlo Park do his kids can bike to work at Facebook.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Why should they have to settle for a carless life in a Fresno condo, with a 90-minute train commute to Los Angeles or the Bay Area?”

    Like the Clockwork Orange intimation: 90 minutes when Amalgamated is not on wildcat strike for more no-shows; Fresno(highrise)condo graffiti’d hellhole set in a sea of bangers, tweakers, car boosters in the smog at 110 degrees.

    joe Reply:

    It’s an estimated 60-70 minute trip from Fresno to the Palo Alto Station, and less to San Jose. HSR is agate changer.

    BTW, Your great grand children will be speaking Spanish Homes. So be nice. This is archived for all eternity.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suspect they will be speaking whatever they mutter in the Night of the Living Dead. Zombish.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If they allow mid-rise condos in Silicon Valley, the terrorists have won.

    joe Reply:

    It’s happening and the Menlo Park natives are restless.

    This highly contentious five story project is mixed use with residential.
    http://www.menlopark.org/projects/comdev_300-550ecr.htm
    Four story development here:
    http://www.menlopark.org/projects/comdev_commonwealth.htm

    City will be adding a total of 1,500-2,000 housing units to settle a lawsuit that blocked the Facebook campus expansion. http://almanacnews.com/news/2012/05/17/menlo-park-settles-housing-lawsuit

    included is Facebook is building a 4 story 394 unit community for employees.
    http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/10/the-houses-that-facebook-built-are-coming-to-san-francisco/

    Morris is fighting to keep HSR out of town linking to minded opponents who want to stop the project and infill his community. Both will happen.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I thought you wanted urban density? Why are you against multi-story housing. Isn’t that how you get density?

    Joey Reply:

    Poe’s law in action.

    Jon Reply:

    I think you missed a dose of sarcasm, there

    joe Reply:

    I do want infill. It should be planned and gradual – I like Mountain View – always have since I lived there in the early 90′s. Menlo Park is a mess which I attribute to NIMBYS like Morris blocking gradual, planned growth. No No No eventually collapses.

    Here is a City that refused to comply with housing requirements for 20 years as it added businesses and suddenly lost control in a lawsuit settlement. They literally don’t have the staff to manage and plan this pent up growth which is mandated by court settlement.

    Their 500 El Camino Project will generate traffic without adding much sales tax. They have limited capacity and should have planned to use that capacity to increase sales tax revenues.

    Meno Park will have to approve the Caltrain expansion and passing track if they want to build underpasses to keep traffic flowing. They will choke on cars without an improved Caltrain and HSR system to alleviate traffic.

    Morris is killing them.

  20. Reedman
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 09:14
    #20

    Quotable response on HSR (from SFChron):
    —————————
    After the latest grilling by congressional Republicans over funding, Dan Richard, chairman of the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority board, ran into the ever-blunt John Burton.

    “How’s it going?” asked Burton, the state’s Democratic Party chairman.

    “We’ve had a few hiccups,” Richard replied.

    “Hiccups?” Burton said. “It sounds more like dry heaves to me.”

  21. Elizabeth
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 11:04
    #21

    Among the many donations to @JerryBrownGov reported Friday nite: $27,200 from Tutor Perini, lead builder of first #CAHSR bullet train leg..— John Myers (@johnmyers) January 26, 2014

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    $27,200 is a drop in the bucket, far too small to have any real meaning. Brown has taken $2.5 million from the oil industry, which does drive his support for fracking.

  22. Elizabeth
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 11:05
    #22

    Speaking of not subtle,

    what is going on in the North Bay to invoke Amalgamated Transit’s sudden show of love for local candidates?

    http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/PDFGen/pdfgen.prg?filingid=1813395&amendid=0

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps they are hoping to organize SMART. But that would be easier for them if GGT took over SMART. Otherwise they would be up against the NWP freight ops, which I assume are BLE. It has always been thought the primary reason for SMART was a trojan horse to obtain public funds to rebuild the trackage for Doug Bosco’s mining of Island Mountain. Public transit use was an afterthought, a sideline.

    The biggest labor dustup was the foundation of Sonoma County Transit some decades back for the purpose of securing a cheaper union than Golden Gate’s local of Amalgamated. I believe Marin Co. is currently still trying to put out its local transit op to bid and leave GGT. I haven’t been following local transit news so much any more as the print mode is disappearing and what is left of the local papers is pretty boring, strictly developer and party mouthpiece.

    Overall the demographic of the Northbay is, shall we way, “mature”. And probably disenchanted with SMART, irrelevant and still 3 years away. Everything political in the Northbay is and has always been “insider”. In the old days it was moderate Republican business-oriented, now strictly Burton patronage machine. But I foresee, in any event, some serious infighting over very limited operating subsidies when SMART finally turns a wheel. I wonder what transit agency is gonna lose those millions Jerry wants to “loan” PB and Tutor.

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    You are confusing SMART with the NWP. The NWP’s south end is SMART’s north end in Healdsberg. NWP is the freight operator–SMART is the passenger operator.

    The political contributions are pretty small in scale, so this doesn’t read as a big push by ATU. The union does want to represent SMART workers, and language in the bill that established the agency pressures that result.

    BTW, Marin Transit renegotiated its contract with GGT, so it now pays a lower rate and contracts more of its runs out to other shops like MV. This has allowed MT to significantly increase its revenue-hours.

    synonymouse Reply:

    NWP runs south thru Petaluma thence to Novata, Schellville and east to the UP. Most of its little freight business is with Dairymen’s Feed and Hunt and Behrens.

    I believe eventually SMART will collapse for lack of riders and high costs. And lots of collisions at its many grade crossings. NCRA-NWP will have gotten its line rebuilt by the taxpayers.

    I expect a lot of conflict between NWP and SMART and a lot of unhappiness when SMART runs out of operating funds and tries to grab bus subsidies.

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    My apologies for some late-night unclarity. Here is a somewhat more detailed and corrected version:

    NWP is the historic name of the railroad from Eureka to Napa, Sausalito and Tiburon. The ROW was acquired in a complicated process that ended up divided at Healdsberg between two public agencies, NCRA and SMART. NCRA has a permanent freight easement on SMART’s ROW, which is how it serves Petaluma and connects via the short line Cal Northern at Schellville to the UP. NCRA has a freight operator which uses the name NWP co., thereby confusing everyone.

    Quiet zones are planned for much of the ROW. The quad gates and supplementary safety measures should stop drive-arounds.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Ain’t nothing gonna stop yuppie ditzes in their beemers nor cowboys piloting gravel trucks. We’ll find out what those doodlebugs are made of.

    Nice they are rebuilding the south of Novato trackage GGT always wanted to pave for a busway. But SMART overall is a joke and Doug Bosco is the putative winner. Bugatti doodlebugs and labor intensive ferries – elite transit – versus mundane buses for the minimum wage, handicapped, indigent. A moral dilemma for the kumbaya crowd.

    TRANSDEF Reply:

    That’s harsh…

    Time will tell.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I suspect SMART is procrastinating to try to build up an operating subsidy nest egg. High-priced Amalgamated and empty trains could eat thru that pretty fast.

    Actually it is not so much a lot of collisions but a few highly publicized ones that will rub an unhappy public the wrong way. There are people who do not like the traffic delays and consider the rr a thing of the past.

    Stealth doodlebugs a dumb move. They should have dumped the freight entirely and gone to electric light rail. But big, noisy loco-hauled would have been safer than dmu’s.

    The real crunch will come when they demand bus op subsidy money. I would guess dumping the whole thing on the Bridge District will surface as then they could grab toll monies.

  23. Neil Shea
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 13:32
    #23

    OT: Texas’ private $10B proposed Houston-Dallas line has created this promo video http://youtu.be/k6igUibrfwc

    Observer Reply:

    Nice video, Nice N700-I train. I hope that they pull it off.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    A press release, a dream and now someone’s kid is going to video design at the local community college.

    They are on their way, already farther along than Sudan

  24. Brian_FL
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 15:56
    #24

    As an update to Robert’s post back on November 12th about Florida’s upcoming election for governor, today the FL Supreme Court might have determined the outcome in favor of the Democrat Charlie Crist (I know it’s weird typing that! LOL). The supremes approved placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot to legalize medical marijuana here in Floirda. That would conceivably help the democrats in a typically low turnout midterm election. Hopefully this will pull enough additional liberal voters to the polls in November. What Robert said back in November is still relevant now:

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2013/11/charlie-crist-slams-rick-scott-over-killing-florida-hsr/

    “And that’s the point. Americans still want high speed trains. The systematic attacks on the California HSR project have taken a political toll. Yet large numbers of Californians still support it and Sacramento politicians who voted to fund HSR in July 2012 were all easily re-elected despite right-wing efforts to use HSR as a way to defeat them. Rick Scott is about to discover that when it comes to HSR, the politically risky thing for a statewide elected official to do is oppose them.

    Why does this matter to the California HSR project? If Crist can hold on and beat Scott, with HSR as one of the campaign issues, he will show Republicans that their extremism has serious political costs. Already Republicans are starting to question the wisdom of the government shutdown now that it helped cost them the Virginia governor’s race.”

    All we need here are a few more votes for Crist and the criminal Rick Scott will be gone! He won by less than 80,000 votes out of millions cast back in 2010. let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of tea party tyranny in this country. Maybe with Crist we can get a pro rail transit administration up in Tallahassee. It will be interesting to see how a Crist governorship affects the AAF project.

    Reedman Reply:

    A reminder that Florida voters approved HSR in 2000, but then in 2004 went back to the voting booth and repealed their 2000 proposal. And this was action directly by the voters, not by governors or legislators.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Yes I remember that. And part of the reason it lost was a campaign of lies and distortion on the part of the opponents of the HSR amendment – head cheerleader being good old Jeb! 10-15 years ago HSR was a “feel good” voting issue. People voted for it because it sounded like the right thing to do. Now I think the tide is turning finally and the support is deeper and more permanent. Believe me, there are alot of voters here who have not forgotten or forgiven Rick Scott for turning down federal funds for HSR back in 2011.

  25. Keith Saggers
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 16:03
    #25

    There were no grounds to issue a writ compelling the Authority to rescind and reissue its first funding plan to begin building high-speed rail in the Central Valley

    Petition for extraordinary writ of mandate application to the California Supreme court

  26. Neil Shea
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 17:33
    #26

    OT: America’s Transportation Professionals can exceed their ridership projections

    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2014/01/expo_line_hits_2020_ridership_goal_but_still_has_room_for_future_santa_monica_riders.php

    synonymouse Reply:

    Rebuilding a PE line that never should have been torn up. Slam dunk.

  27. morris brown
    Jan 27th, 2014 at 19:07
    #27

    Dan Walters: Gov. Brown increasingly desperate to save bullet train

    See:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/27/6106244/dan-walters-gov-brown-increasingly.html

    After this despiration petition to the Supreme Court is denied, what will the Governor try next?

    nslander Reply:

    Mount a sperited PR campaign?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Is the Judge’s last name Kerry or Kelly?

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