A county judge says the California high-speed rail project violates the law approved by voters in 2008. But he won’t decide to issue an order halting the project until after another hearing, for which a date hasn’t yet been set.
The Reason Foundation’s Adrian Moore and Antiplanner friend Wendell Cox discuss California high-speed rail.
The Contra Costa Times lists many of the ways the project as planned today violates the 2008 ballot measure: the construction cost has doubled; the projected ticket prices have gone up; the speeds are slower; and the projected opening date is already nine years behind schedule. But the judge only rules that the project had failed to complete its environmental review and find funds to finance the entire project, not just a few miles in the Central Valley.
Not discouraged, the High-Speed Rail Authority is attempting to low ball business owners in its efforts to buy right of way for the project. Even if the authority breaks ground on construction, it will never be completed unless fiscal liberals manage to take both houses of Congress soon.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will soon decide whether to halt construction on the $5 billion Honolulu rail project. A district court has already ruled that the environmental impact statement for the project failed to consider all alternatives. The city hopes to overturn that while rail opponents hope to get an even broader statement against the rail project.
Another court case had already stopped the project pending archeological surveys. But construction is scheduled to resume in September unless the Ninth Circuit stops it. In both California and Hawaii, it is yet to be seen whether “illegal” means halting construction or is simply a mild rebuke against wildly expensive boondoggles.