Court Eases Way for Expensive California Choo-Choo

Opponents of the boondoggle still have a few arrows in their quiver.


Gov. Jerry Brown's high-speed rail project took a step forward Wednesday when the state Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by opponents of the first-stage funding for the proposed San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line.

State voters approved $8.6 billion in bonds in 2008 for a project that is projected to cost $68 billion. Before construction could begin on the first 130-mile segment in the Central Valley, a Sacramento County judge blocked the bond sale last year, saying the state first needed to gain environmental clearance and identify sources of funding for the rest of the planned rail line.

But the state's Third District Court of Appeal reversed that ruling July 31 and said the bond sale could proceed. While further funding plans and environmental review will be needed at later stages, the court said, the initial plan met legal requirements that allowed the Legislature to decide whether to commit money to the project.