High-Speed Rail Authority’s EIR Rejected for Second Time

According to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, a Sacremento Superior Court judge has again rejected the High-Speed Rail Authority’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of high-speed rail in the Bay Area.  The judge, Jude Michael Kenny, felt that the authority’s assessment fell short in several key components.  Specifically, Kenny said that the report did not properly examine the impact of trains on Monterey Road through San Jose, which would lose important traffic lanes under the proposed high-speed route.  In addition, Kenny also said that the assessment did not “adequately study how trains would affect Peninsula neighborhoods along the San Jose-to San Francisco corridor.”

Interestingly enough, both those in support and against high-speed rail feel that aspects of Judge Kenny’s ruling were a sign of victory.  The authority’s chairman, Thomas Umberg, pointed out that, although additional provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act need to met, Kenny did approve the proposed list of route alternatives and ridership projections.  California’s high-speed rail opponents don’t agree with Umberg’s point of view and feel that the judge’s ruling was a clear example of the shortcomings of the authority’s environmental assessment.  According to attorney Stuart Flashman, “In rejecting the Environmental Impact Report, the court has upheld the principle that significant projects impacts cannot be swept under the rug for later consideration, after the key decisions have already been made.”

The Sacramento Superior Court’s ruling is another setback for California’s high-speed rail project.  While finding funding for the nearly $100 billion project is the most important, overarching issue, until the High-Speed Rail Authority’s environmental assessment is approved, the project cannot move forward. Although the judge’s ruling cannot really be considered a defenitive win for the High-Speed Rail Authority, it did show the authority exactly what they need to improve in their next environmental assessment. For California high-speed rail opponents, this victory helps in delaying the project, but will probably only be a temporary road block.



WASP November 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm

This is a high cost Browndoggle that will never be profitable. Scrap it and let’s move on to something important like implementing E-Verify statewide.

Auld Sodger November 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm

WASP: It understood that trains will never be “profitable” but never will highways (that is until tolls are implemented), aviation, waterways, schools, parks, police and fire departments, etc. When I go in to Richmond, Washington, NYC, etc, I take the train. Any idea what a parking space costs to build in one of these cities? And, then, what do those cars do all day long? What do they contribute. Well, they contribute nothing and take up valuable space that could be converted to a higher use. I like my cars but sometimes they are a PIA.

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