Caltrain and HSR Win Yet Again in Court
Another day, another victory for Caltrain and high speed rail and another defeat for Peninsula NIMBYs:
In a lawsuit that could have veered Caltrain’s electrification plans off track, a judge announced Monday he is ruling in favor of the local transit agency proceeding with its $2 billion Modernization Program.
The town of Atherton filed the potentially derailing suit in February 2015, alleging Caltrain’s environmental impact report was inadequate and that its plans to share the Peninsula tracks with high-speed rail should have been vetted as part of the review.
The Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, or TRANSDEF, and Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail joined the lawsuit that was eventually moved to Contra Costa County Superior Court.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Barry Goode sided with Caltrain arguing electrifying the local tracks does not inherently pave the way for the state’s controversial bullet train.
“Petitioners are simply wrong when they say ‘[n]either project can be implemented without the other.’ … The Electrification Project can be implemented successfully even if the HSR project never takes another step forward. It is a project of independent utility that Caltrain has been seeking to implement for nearly twenty-five years,” Goode wrote in his order.
“Petitioners are simply wrong” is always a good phrase to see, especially when it comes to anti-HSR folks who are harassing the CHSRA and the courts with numerous frivolous and meritless lawsuits. If I were in the Attorney General’s office I’d consider seeking an injunction against TRANSDEF and CC-HSR for being vexatious litigants. They sue over everything and almost always lose. They’re merely using the courts to reverse the decisions of voters and legislators, which is not appropriate.
My guess is the state’s attorneys are not interested in such a move, being folks who take the high road. But it’s warranted.