Judge Michael Kenny has issued his tentative ruling in the issue of whether work could continue on the Bay Area to the Central Valley segment of the high speed rail line - and it is a victory for CHSRA:
Petitioners have requested that the writ of mandate to be issued in this case include a stay of all of respondent’s activities dependent on or premised upon the approvals being ordered rescinded. Respondent opposes the request. The Court set a briefing and hearing schedule on this issue.
The Court has considered the parties’ arguments and the evidence they have submitted on this issue. The Court concludes that under the circumstances of this case, staying project-level activities is not appropriate pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21168.9(a)(2) and pertinent case law.
The actions for which a stay is being requested are studies with no potential for adverse change or alteration to the physical environment. Additionally, the Court concludes that such studies do not create such momentum that respondent Authority would be unable to comply with its CEQA obligations as previously determined by this Court.
Accordingly, petitioners’ request that the writ to be issued include a stay is denied.
CHSRA offered this statement in response:
“We’re happy to see that the tentative ruling supports our position that granting a stay on the project is unnecessary since the project is in the planning stage and could cost the state funding and jobs,” said Jeff Barker, the Authority’s Deputy Director.
"We don't believe that anyone is interested in jeopardizing billions of dollars in economic stimulus for California, delaying the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, and forcing taxpayers to shoulder higher costs to build the system," said Barker.
Totally agreed. There was no reason to delay planning work while the CHSRA goes back to address the two items that Judge Kenny said were inadequately examined in the program EIR.
Once again the HSR deniers behind this lawsuit have lost. They basically got lucky on the UPRR ROW issue, which was never a core element of their lawsuit, and their other efforts to stop HSR in its tracks have been consistently shot down by this judge. I have every reason to believe that will continue.