Artist's rendering from California High-Speed Rail Authority
Artist’s rendering from California High-Speed Rail Authority

A Sacramento judge has ordered a trial in a lawsuit that alleges that the state’s high-speed rail plan fails to comply with promises made in a 2008 bond measure designed to kick-start funding for the project. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny rejected an attempt by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to throw out part of a lawsuit filed by Kings County and San Joaquin Valley farmers and landowners. The section of the suit in question focuses on whether the rail agency’s design for the high-speed rail system complies with requirements set out in Proposition 1A, the voter-approved measure that provides $9.9 billion in bonds for the bullet train. From the Fresno Bee’s Tim Sheehan:

The ruling sets the stage for a trial in which the two sides are expected to present a string of experts to argue over the design of the 520-mile line that would run between San Francisco and Los Angeles through the San Joaquin Valley … Key issues … are likely to be the rail agency’s proposal for a “blended” train system to share improved, electrified tracks on the Caltrain commuter-train line between San Francisco and Los Angeles — something some high-speed rail advocates like former judge and state Sen. Quentin Kopp of San Francisco say is different than what voters were promised in Prop. 1A. Rail opponents add that the blended system will keep high-speed trains from achieving Prop. 1A’s ultimate mandate for a 2 hour 40 minute nonstop ride from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles’ Union Station. Also at issue is whether the system can operate without a public subsidy, as the ballot proposition required.

In November, Kenny ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ challenge to the bullet train’s funding scheme. The rail agency is appealing the rulings, which ordered the state to rewrite its financing plan for the bullet train and barred the state from selling the Proposition 1A bonds to help finance the first segment of the system, slated to be built in the San Joaquin Valley. Embedded below: Judge Kenny’s Tuesday ruling.

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    FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The design of the High-Speed Rail project is going high-tech. A small robot is being used to map out exactly what’s below the streets.

    On Monday, the robot went into the sewer system at Santa Clara and G streets in Downtown Fresno.

    The robot is designed with a few bright lights on the front, with a camera to record everything it sees. The camera can also snap pictures. This is so crews can map every sewer connection in the design of the High-Speed Rail.


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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