Court Rules Against California High Speed Rail

California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled against the California High Speed Rail Authority in two decisions announced on November 25. In the first, Judge Kenny ruled that the Business Plan failed to meet the requirements of the voter approved referendum under California Assembly Bill 3034 (2008), in not identifying sufficient capital funding for the first segment. As a result, the Business Plan needs to be redrafted. In the second decision, Judge Kenny declined to issue a conformity ruling that would have paved the way for $8 billion in bonds that had been approved by voters, which were also subject to same Assembly Bill 3034.

Judge Kenny declined to stop construction of the project, which is scheduled to start in the Spring. However, the Authority only has federal funds for that segment, and which would require, in the longer run, matching state funds (which were to have been from the bonds).

According to the San Francisco Chronicle , Kenny's found that the California High Speed Rail Authority "abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of law."

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Transit Oriented Development

Mr. Cox: I hope you have the time to see what is cooking up here in Marin County with our Sonoma to Marin SMART Train and the real estate development schemes that it is spawning. Marin is to have its first "transit village" located in the environs of the Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal. The feds are providing the swing financing to bring this vision of urbanization to fruition. The local folks are up in arms about this, but the elected officials seem to be ready to give it the go ahead. December 3rd is the first big public promotional event on the project. It should be enlightening and perhaps provide an example the rest of the State and the Nation have to look forward to.

Interesting bulletin from Planet TOD, Houston responds

And what is the Real Estate priced at? Have you guys worked out how to get inner city condos down to less than 8 times the price they are in Houston, yet?

".....The feds are providing the swing financing......"

Sickening....! What a waste of American taxpayers money. I bet the site owners have pocketed positively gouging levels of zero sum economic land rent.

My advice to the Federal Government is, that if some County or District or State wants to save the planet with Transit Oriented Development, tell them to use Eminent Domain against the site owner - and stop wasting American taxpayers money on wealth transfers to already-well-off property specuvesters.

http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_24616288/plans-advance-housing-near-...

".....Julie Leitzell, of Larkspur, said only big money developers and government agencies will benefit from the plan. A former member of the citizen's advisory committee that helped draft the plan, she said she ultimately resigned because she didn't agree with its focus......

"......Mayor Dan Hillmer agreed.

"That's just the high end of a range that's going to be studied. The realities of the real estate market for Larkspur Landing will lower that market substantially, I believe," Hillmer said. "I see the impact analysis and the REAL ESTATE VALUE (emphasis added) discussion becoming dominant in that."

Hillmer said East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard can't handle many more cars, unless changes are made such as a northbound connection from Highway 101 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge — a component he believes should be part of the station area plan. He said he would be pushing to make it happen.

Leitzell, a real estate agent, said traffic in the area is a mess and will become even more of a disaster with dense housing developments. She said the increased traffic congestion will lead to more greenhouse gas emissions, which flies in the face of the plan's goals......"

AMEN TO THAT....!!

I believe there is an iron rule of transportation that applies to all cities except a few exceptional ones (eg the few based on global finance, or national capitals, in which employment density and mass transit make some sense). The lost efficiency in traffic congestion will be worse than the pitiful gains (if any at all) in mode shift to mass transit.

In fact I would go as far as to say that there is a causative link between transport funding taken off roads and given to mass transit, and increased congestion. This is not rocket science, because every person mile traveled on mass transit is 3 to 20 times costlier in public subsidies, than every person mile traveled on roads. It would make as much sense to take money off mobile telephone network capacity investments to plough into public telephone box investments instead, and expect an overall increase in communications and/or a lower overall cost.