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High-Speed Rail Project Wins Crucial Legal Battle - For Now

Mar 8, 2016
California High-Speed Rail Authority

California high-speed rail supporters have dodged yet another legal bullet. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the state has won a lawsuit that threatened to derail the embattled project.

When California voters approved a high-speed rail bond measure in 2008, they included several conditions. Among them, trains must speed passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours, 40 minutes.

Opponents sued, arguing the state can’t meet all the conditions. Now, a Sacramento County judge has essentially ruled: maybe so, but it’s too soon to say.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High Speed Rail Authority has officially released an updated plan that makes big changes to first section of the bullet train.

The plan confirms that the Authority wants to change the first functional section of track to run from Bakersfield to San Jose. The original plan was for the first working segment of track to run from the Central Valley to Burbank outside LA.

The report leaked on Wednesday, but Thursday evening the Rail Authority released an official version of the document confirming the route change.

Change Of Destination Expected For High Speed Rail

Feb 18, 2016
California High Speed Rail Authority

A big change appears to be in the works for California’s high speed rail project. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess has more.

The original plan was to connect cities in the Central Valley to Burbank in Southern California with the first functional stretch of track. Now according to multiple media reports, the High-Speed Rail Authority appears ready to run the first trains from Bakersfield to San Jose.

The rail authority is expected to release a report tomorrow detailing the need for the change.

Legal Challenge Could Freeze Billions In Funds For California's Bullet Train

Feb 11, 2016
California High-Speed Rail Authority

The future of California's high speed rail project may now rest with a Sacramento judge. Oral Arguments wrapped up Thursday in a case that says the project has strayed from what voters approved in 2008.

Stuart Flashman is the attorney representing Central Valley landowners who oppose the project. He wants the judge to stop high-speed rail in its tracks.

City of Fresno

Construction on California’s high-speed rail project is set to give local drivers some headaches. Starting next month work will begin on the demolition of the Tuolumne Street bridge in downtown Fresno.

The bridge, which links Highway 99 with the central business district will eventually be replaced by a new higher bridge that will span both the union pacific and high speed rail tracks, and will accommodate 2-way traffic.

POLITIFACT: Have Costs Dropped 'Several Hundred Million Dollars' For California’s Bullet Train?

Nov 24, 2015
California High-Speed Rail Authority

Questions about high costs have dogged California’s high-speed rail project for years.

Now, leaders of the controversial bullet train network say some expenses are, in fact, trending downward. That led Capital Public Radio’s PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols to check out the facts.

In recent weeks, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has faced criticism that it concealed higher cost estimates. Those estimates, if correct, could add $8 billion to the project’s $68 billion price tag.

POLITIFACT: Is The Private Sector ‘Unwilling’ To Fund California’s Bullet Train?

Nov 23, 2015
Califonia High-Seed Rail Authority

California’s bullet train project has faced new criticism in recent weeks. Its leaders have been accused of hiding higher cost estimates and failing to win funding from the private sector.

One recent attack by a Central Valley state lawmaker caught the attention of Capital Public Radio’s PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols.

Plans to build a high-speed rail network from LA to San Francisco rely heavily on private funding.

High Speed Rail Authority

Will California’s high-speed rail system be German enough?

That question is not a joke, as I learned last month while riding Germany’s popular high-speed rail. In fact, it’s a more important question than the ones Californians have been myopically asking for years about the costs, funding, and construction deadlines of the state’s controversial project.

State Insists High-Speed Rail Remains On Track

Nov 6, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

After appearing to pick up steam this year, California's ambitious high-speed rail project hit a snag this week. Opponents are accusing the High-Speed Rail Authority of hiding higher cost estimates. The state insists that costs remain on track, although the trains may not be ready to run on time. Ben Bradford reports from Sacramento.

In January, after years of delays and legal battles, Governor Jerry Brown finally celebrated the groundbreaking for California’s High Speed Rail line.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Bakersfield’s Wild West Shopping Center is getting a new owner. FM89’s Joe Moore reports on why the city council voted last night to buy the property.

The nearly 5 acre parcel sits where westbound Highway 58 dead-ends into Highway 99. For years extending freeway access on 58 to the west side has been a top city priority - a plan now known as the Centennial Corridor freeway.

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio

Fresno City leaders say construction could start on the project to turn the Fulton Mall into a street as early as this summer. Opponents of the project say they are not giving up the fight.

The city had expected to break ground on the project this month.

City Manager Bruce Rudd says they won’t make that goal, but they will begin work soon.

“We are hoping to have this go out to bid within the next 60-to-90 days. It will probably be on the street for sixty days. And hopefully back before the council in August to award a contract,” Rudd said.

Atkins Wants New Vehicle Fee For Transportation Projects

Feb 5, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The speaker of the California Assembly wants the state to put an extra two billion dollars a year towards transportation projects. To pay for it, she wants to charge a new fee on every vehicle in the state.

Arnold Schwarzenegger rode voters’ anger over higher vehicle license fees to the governorship in the 2003 recall election.

Schwarzenegger in 2003: “I will immediately destroy the car tax!”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

More than a thousand supporters of California High Speed Rail filled the barren lot of what is supposed to become a multistory train station in Fresno today for a symbolic groundbreaking.

Nearly two years after construction was supposed to start, and more than six years after voters approved a bond to help fund California high speed rail, state and local leaders met in Fresno’s historic Chinatown today to mark the start of the project’s construction.

California Supreme Court Declines To Hear High Speed Rail Case

Oct 15, 2014
California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of two lawsuits that challenged the way California plans to pay for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the decision paves the way for the project to move forward.

State Wins Another High Speed Rail Court Battle

Sep 2, 2014
California High Speed Rail Authority

California may be one step away from selling bonds for its High Speed Rail project.

A California Court of Appeals has refused to grant a rehearing in a case challenging the use of bond funding to build High Speed Rail. The decision is a win for the state which is counting on selling bonds to help fund the project.

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