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Appeals court rejects last legal challenge to California bullet train

By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2021

“The last pending civil lawsuit seeking to stop the California high-speed rail project hit a wall Tuesday when a state appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling that the project did not violate the California Constitution by adopting a segmented approach to building the system.

“The case alleged that the project violated key restrictions written into the 2008 Proposition 1A bond act that required the $9 billion be spent only for segments that are ‘suitable and ready for high-speed train operation.’

“The meaning of ‘suitable and ready,’ the court said, could be traced to the rail authority’s 2012 business plan, which adopted a blended approach to the system [where some segments would be shared with improved conventional rail].

“The result of the blended system meant that the rail authority has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to improvements to the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California far in advance of any bullet trains that would operate. … When it would reach Los Angeles or San Francisco is uncertain.

“[San Joaquin Valley farmer John] Tos, who became the most stalwart bullet train opponent, said the project has had a major effect on his farming operations. … Separate eminent domain actions are pending.”

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