Infrastructure & Environment

Slowing Down California's Bullet Train

November 26, 2013
 

In a major legal blow to the California bullet train, a Sacramento judge ruled that state officials cannot pursue their plan to tap billions of dollars in voter-approved bond funding for construction, a decision that could cause indefinite delays in the massive $68-billion project.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, ruling Monday in two closely watched cases, found the state officials made key errors and failed to comply with legal requirements as they moved the project toward a long-awaited groundbreaking.

The decisions don't immediately halt the project, but they have thrown its future into doubt and could sharply curtail the state's ability to fund a complete high-speed rail system. State officials said they were assessing their options and exploring ways to keep the project moving ahead.

Kenny ruled that the project's funding plan violates state law and, separately, that the state cannot sell bullet-train bonds because officials failed to follow correct procedures.

Construction of the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco train, more than a year behind schedule, was most recently slated to begin in the second quarter of 2014.

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