For the second time, a California court has invalidating the Environmental Impact Report for the Central Valley to Bay Area section of the California High-Speed Rail project, and required the High Speed Rail Authority to rescind its approvals selecting the Pacheco Pass alignment. Finding in favor of the Town of Atherton, and the cities of Menlo Park and Palo Alto, and other petitioners (including the Planning and Conservation League), the Sacramento Superior Court found that the project’s Revised Environmental Impact Report had failed to discuss significant impacts and to consider information from the Authority’s parallel project-level studies, and the agency also failed to recirculate the document for public comments.
While the court rejected some of the petitioner’s claims, the end result is that the EIR must be recirculated and the community provided another opportunity to comment on the project. While PCL would like to see a viable and properly-sited HSR project move forward that will reduce emissions and vehicle miles travelled, the decision further demonstrates that the largest proposed infrastructure project the state of California has seen cannot should not go forward without a full and transparent vetting by impacted communities.
The California High Speed Rail Authority released a revised and updated version of the project’s business plan only a week ago, and PCL is carefully reviewing the 250 page document now to prepare for what we expect will be a busy legislative year addressing the governance, alignment and feasibility of high speed rail in California. PCL looks forward to keeping you updated on any high speed rail news or events.
Click here to read the court’s entire decision.