Let’s see now. As we headed East out of la-la land the other day, the proponents of that high-speed train from nowhere (Bakersfield) to nowhere (Fresno) were busily revising their cost estimates and — surprise! — the route of their railroad, but were promising to charge ahead even though California lacks the funds (now and for the foreseeable future) to pay for this boondoggle, and Uncle Sam is broke too. Click here . Now, another front has opened up. A trial court judge in Sacramento has ruled that the railroad builders’ [second] environmental impact report (EIR) is inadequate and will have to be redone. Needless to say, this will increase the estimated cost which is now within kissing distance of $100 billion, with more hinted at.
Three posh Northern California cities, along with a bunch of tail coat riders, sued three years ago, challenging the adequacy of the [first] EIR which the judge found inadequate. So the railroad builders went back to the drawing board and came up with a second EIR, and that’s the one that just got shot down. The court ruled that the railroad folks will have to go back again and re-study the effect of the rail right of way on highway traffic.
We hope that you will forgive our cynicism, but we doubt if any of this is the real reason for the controversy. What the plaintiffs want, what they really want, is for the railroad route to be moved eastward from the posh San Francisco Peninsula, way across the San Francisco Bay where, you know, the declasse folks live. For the Palo Alto News story reporting this development, see Gennedy Sheyner, High-Speed Rail Hit With Legal Setback, Palo Alto Online News, November 14, 2011 – click here.
We can’t wait.