Court Rules Against Super-train Route
From the PCL: On Thursday 12/3/2009, the California High Speed Rail Authority rescinded its poor route choice for the Central Valley-Bay Area segment of the state's proposed high-speed train network. This decision means that the Authority will re-evaluate other potential routes into the Bay Area that would have fewer negative environmental effects and less impact on nearby communities. Last year the Planning and Conservation League, along with BayRail Alliance, California Rail Foundation, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, and the cities of Atherton and Menlo Park filed a lawsuit challenging the Authority's decision to route the train through the Pacheco Pass and along the Peninsula to San Francisco . The group noted that the Authority had not adequately reviewed the project and failed to sufficiently consider other routes for the Central Valley-Bay Area segment. The courts agreed and sent the Authority back to the drawing board to do it right. Today's decision is good news for high speed rail. First, by building the train to ensure minimal impacts to the environment and local communities, the Authority can stem the growing tide of opposition - increasing the chances that the project will actually be built. Second, by exploring the full range of alternative approaches at the outset, the Authority will save substantial time and money in the long run - again improving the project's likelihood of success. However, Thursday's decision will only be meaningful if the Authority conducts a real review and commits to choosing the most effective route. To date, the Authority's leadership has been more motivated by political pressure than sound public policy. We hope yesterday's announcement finally puts high speed rail development on the right track.
(12-04) 04:00 PST Sacramento - -- Efforts to link the Bay Area and the Central Valley by high-speed rail pulled onto a bureaucratic siding Thursday as the High Speed Rail Authority rescinded its approval of an environmental study for that section of the bullet train.
The unanimous rescission of the 2008 approval, which identified the Pacheco Pass as the preferred route, was in response to an August court ruling that the environmental document was partially inadequate. Parts of it will need to be redone. But how long it will take to fix the study, and move forward with the choice of an alignment between San Jose and Merced, is a matter of controversy. Rail authority officials say it should take a few months - at most. But an attorney representing an environmental group, which joined with Atherton and Menlo Park in filing the suit, says the study shouldn't be rushed. "It's very clear to us that you need to understand that there may be environmental impacts, impacts on habitat and growth impacts that could be avoided if you did things differently," said Gary Patton, special counsel for the Planning and Conservation League, which joined in filing the suit. Patton estimated it could take as long as a year to reconsider the study properly; and any rushed study, he said, would likely lead the sides back to court. The groups involved in the lawsuit objected to the authority's selection of Pacheco Pass over Altamont Pass as the gateway to the Bay Area, and still consider it a superior choice, Patton said outside the meeting. He said the groups want the authority to completely reconsider their decision, which could steer them toward Altamont.
mentions Tejon Ranch--in relation to the Super-train project