Court rulings look likely to delay California high-speed rail project

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A judge in California has blocked the state’s high-speed rail authority from issuing more than $8 billion in bonds to fund phase one of the $68 billion HSR network between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The ruling by the Sacramento Superior Court said it found no evidence that it was “necessary and desirable” to authorise the issuance of the bonds as was determined by the California High-Speed Rail’s finance committee in March this year.

In a separate ruling, the authority was told it would also need to rescind its original funding plan and draw up a new one before being allowed to spend any of the bond proceeds after Judge Michael Kenny concluded that the original plan did not comply with elements of the Streets and Highways Code.

Responding to the court’s judgements, authority board of directors chairman Dan Richard said: “We are reviewing both decisions to chart our next steps, but it is important to stress that the court again declined the opposition’s request to stop the high-speed rail project from moving forward. Additionally, the judge did not invalidate the bonds as approved by the voters in Proposition 1A.

“Like all transformative projects, we understand that there will be many challenges that will be addressed as we go forward in building the nation’s first high-speed rail system.”

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