Judge rejects bid to halt Calif. high-speed rail project

Posted on November 20, 2012

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley ruled to reject a bid by agricultural interests to temporarily halt California's high-speed rail project in the Central Valley until a lawsuit can be decided. The judgment means bidding and construction will proceed as scheduled on the first phase of the 800-mile high speed rail system set to connect the state.

"We are very excited about this ruling and feel this is just one more confirmation of the importance of this project and the public desire to see it built as quickly as possible," said US High Speed Rail Association President Andy Kunz.

Judge Frawley ruled that the cost of delaying the project outweighed the risk to farmers and others along the route whose property would be affected. The judge also said it was not clear to him at this point that the authority had failed to meet the standards of the environmental quality act, which was the premise of the lawsuit.

Construction of the first phase of the state-wide fast rail project is set to begin in July in the route between Merced and Fresno, an area in the central part of the state that is mostly farms.

"This project has widespread public and business support," said Rod Diridon, head of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. "The public's desire for a 21st Century form of transportation is clear and must be delivered."

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