Gov. Brown: Why no, a judge declaring that California’s high-speed rail plans violate its own rules will not slow down the project

posted at 6:01 pm on August 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

As Ed has meticulously pointed out over the last few years, California’s grandiose plans for a high-speed rail transportation system have portended little more than an expensive and impractical boondoggle from the get-go — but let that not deter progressive pipe dreams.

Last week, a judge noticed that the project has gotten out of control by violating the rules of the proposition originally approved by voters, skirting the required environmental clearances required for construction, and, oh yeah — not actually having any planned source of funding for anything beyond the proposed network’s first leg. From the WSJ:

Last Friday, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney ruled that California’s high-speed rail authority had violated the letter of the 2008 ballot initiative authorizing $10 billion in bonds for the 500-mile train’s construction. To wit, the authority didn’t identify funding sources for the $31 billion required to build the 290-mile “initial usable segment” from Madera to the San Fernando Valley. Nor did the authority obtain necessary environmental clearances.

“The Court concludes that the Authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of law,” wrote Judge Kenney, adding that the authority’s argument that it had complied with the law’s requirements was “unpersuasive.” The Judge didn’t go so far as to issue a writ of mandamus stopping the appropriation of state funds, though his ruling sets the ground for a writ after more hearings are held.

The judge is looking to have some more hearings on the matter before he issues a decision on what to do about it, but Gov. Jerry Brown is determined to not let such mundane details derail his plans.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that California’s high-speed rail project will not be stopped by a judge’s ruling that project officials failed to comply with provisions of Proposition 1A, the initiative in which voters approved initial funding for the project in 2008.

“It’s not a setback,” Brown told reporters at the Lake Tahoe Summit.

He said the ruling “didn’t stop our spending, so we’re continuing. As we speak we’re spending money, we’re moving ahead.”

Here’s a tidbit from the ruling itself (h/t to Scott Shackford at Reason):

[T]he discussion of funding under existing federal programs such as the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program and Passenger Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 explicitly recognizes that both programs are funded through the annual federal General Fund appropriations process, and that “…the appropriations process makes the timing and amount of funding more uncertain [than programs funded through a dedicated trust fund] at best.” Thus, to “increase the potential” of actually obtaining funding through these programs, “…the Authority and other California officials will need to team with other states and high-speed rail stakeholders across the nation to promote high-speed rail as a program of national interest.”

This discussion makes it clear that funding from these sources cannot reasonably be expected to be available without significant further work and legislative advocacy, and that, in reality, there were no anticipated or expected commitments, authorizations, agreements, allocations, or other means of receiving such funds at the time the Authority approved the funding plan. …

And etcetera. In other words: How is it, exactly, that you intend to pay for this whole mess? ‘Cause I’m not seeing it.

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/08/jerry-brown-says-high-speed-rail-ruling-wont-stop-project-spending.html#storylink=cpy

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dhimmincRATs: “Laws? What laws? We don need no steenking laws.”

davidk on August 21, 2013 at 6:08 PM

And etcetera. In other words: How is it, exactly, that you intend to pay for this whole mess?

Federal bailout.

Liam on August 21, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Will the high speed rail hook up with Nevada so they can send the crazies back?

davidk on August 21, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Was Jerry Brown part of the Nevada Boatlift?

Flange on August 21, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Ignoring the courts / judges and ignoring the law still will not uncover the ~$100 billion this program demands – and California does not have the money regardless of how wealthy the citizens of the state are.

So basically, it looks like Governor Moonbeam is dropping acid again.

Athos on August 21, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Do you know what this town needs? A monorail!

James on August 21, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I lived in CA for thirty years, and NOBODY will give up their car to catch a train…

OmahaConservative on August 21, 2013 at 6:14 PM

I see Brown has been learning the lessons from Obama.

“The law is whatever I say it is.”

Bitter Clinger on August 21, 2013 at 6:15 PM

translation: We have all these UNION jobs to throw money at so i will spend it all so they vote DUMBocratic for ever!

SDarchitect on August 21, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Last week, a judge noticed that the project has gotten out of control by violating the rules of the proposition originally approved by voters,

Since when does a judge give a flying fig what was originally approved by voters? This is California.

Moonbeam part deux is so awesome!!

This quote says it all…

He said the ruling “didn’t stop our spending, so we’re continuing. As we speak we’re spending money, we’re moving ahead.”

Ditkaca on August 21, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Money well spent California.

You people are idiots!

patman77 on August 21, 2013 at 6:26 PM

See? The left never cares about court rulings unless they agree with them. They never care about any law either. The right needs to get a clue. The Democrat party is a lawless party.

Now when the Supreme Court rules in favor of ObamaCare or some other left law.. GOP leaders bow and declare “It’s the law of the land.”
Not the Democrat party, tho.

Another thing.. I am sick of hearing how government agencies and programs can’t be repealed or ended. I keep hearing “We gotta stop it now because if we don’t it will be too late and we’ll never get it repealed!” I understand that sure.. but it’s a self fulfilling prophesy. The Dems never think like that. No mountain is ever too high for a leftist to climb if it will lead to bigger government.

If only we fought with the same determination they do.

JellyToast on August 21, 2013 at 6:32 PM

I just wonder how high the stack of Injuctions on this judge’s desk reach?
And the back-up stack of Contempt Citations?
It is a complete surprise that Jer can fit HSR into his demanding court schedule dealing with prison inmates.

Another Drew on August 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Why doesn’t Mexifornia just build it straight to Mexico City (their new federal Capitol?

They could have stops in San Diego, LA, and Modesto. That way they can unload the millions of Mexican illegals more easily.

?????? Will the Golden State have made it too 100 electoral votes by 2020 or will it take another decade?

PappyD61 on August 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Was Jerry Brown part of the Nevada Boatlift?

Flange on August 21, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Oh, no. He’s been around CA much longer than that!

GWB on August 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Californians are ridiculous fools. Why would anyone want to live in that God-forsaken POS state. Oh, yeah. “But the weather soooo nice.” Yeah, whatever.

WarEagle01 on August 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Nor did the authority obtain necessary environmental clearances.

Oh my, oh my, have we finally stumbled upon the only area in the USA and all territories that ISN’T ‘environmentally sensitive’?

No studies to be done by Sierra and the other wealthy multinational environmental organizations just down the street from Brownie?

No court challenges from liberals to shut down the project?

How can this be?

slickwillie2001 on August 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM

GWB on August 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Yes he was, but then he left. I’m guessing he went to Nevada for treatment.

Flange on August 21, 2013 at 6:55 PM

More proof that NOTHING will ever stop d-cRAT socialist wasteful spending as long as they are in power.

TeaPartyNation on August 21, 2013 at 7:02 PM

How is it, exactly, that you intend to pay for this whole mess? ‘Cause I’m not seeing it.

Well if you listen to Moonbeam, “investors are lining up” to put down their money.

Evidently these “investors” don’t want to be named for some reason because when some “reporter” actually asks the question, all they get is “foreign investors”.

Moonbeam Brown, LIAR last time he was governor, LIAR this time as governor.

Poor Moonbeam, he so wants his “legacy” bullet train.

GarandFan on August 21, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Californians are ridiculous fools. Why would anyone want to live in that God-forsaken POS state. Oh, yeah. “But the weather soooo nice.” Yeah, whatever.

WarEagle01 on August 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Almost everything about California…its weather, beaches, business climate…completely sucks compared to Florida.

I’ll give them the mountains, but that’s it. And since I went to school in Colorado, that’s still pretty pathetic.

James on August 21, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Moonbeam and Unions message to Californians-”We are building this train to nowhere, screw the court ruling,now pay up suckas, and YOU WILL LIKE IT!!’.

jeffinsjvca on August 21, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Jerry Brown dropped out of seminary school when they got to that whole “thou shalt not steal” part in the Ten Commandments. He just couldn’t figure that part out.

kurtzz3 on August 21, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Prettiest place that I would never want to live.

KCB on August 21, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Erika- here’s another for ya to check in to. $200 million. Operating funds unknown.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Link.

Tucson.

Sun. Link. Urban. Trolley.

Ride the S.L.U.T.

3.9 miles with 22 stops. Cool digital displays scrolling poetry. Artwork.

All it does is get U of A college kids to the 4th Ave bars.

Consult Katie Pavlich. She knows. ;)

wolly4321 on August 21, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Fiasco.

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/city-told-streetcar-operating-cost-will-be-times-earlier-estimate/article_b5454cb9-a420-5b14-879a-1aba0dc39f45.html.

First streetcar in July 2013? Nope. Not even close.

Oregen Ironworks is building them.

Liberals and choo-choo trains. Epic fail.

wolly4321 on August 21, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Heh. They’re not moving ahead by constructing it. They’re moving ahead by spending money.

That pretty much covers it.

trigon on August 21, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Trigon- yep. “infrastructure” doesn’t mean useful infrastructure. It means spending money alone.

Union only.

wolly4321 on August 21, 2013 at 8:41 PM

And etcetera. In other words: How is it, exactly, that you intend to pay for this whole mess? ‘Cause I’m not seeing it.

if you build it, they will come.

Or not.

iurockhead on August 21, 2013 at 9:23 PM

As Ed has meticulously pointed out over the last few years, California’s grandiose plans for a high-speed rail transportation system have portended little more than an expensive and impractical boondoggle from the get-go — but let that not deter progressive pipe dreams.

Last week, a judge noticed that the project has gotten out of control by violating the rules of the proposition originally approved by voters, skirting the required environmental clearances required for construction, and, oh yeah — not actually having any planned source of funding for anything beyond the proposed network’s first leg. From the WSJ:

The heart wants what the heart wants.

.

And what the heart wants is to be just like Europe!

Well, except for nuclear power. And banning abortions after 6-12 weeks. No nukes, and no restrictions on abortion! But otherwise, just like Europe! Oh, and except for lower corporate tax rates. No nukes, no restrictions on abortion, and juicy high corporate tax rates. But otherwise, just like Europe!

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 22, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Gov. Brown: (stamps foot) I wanna choo-choo twain! Buy me a big choo-choo twain NOW!!!

Steve Z on August 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Tucson.

Sun. Link. Urban. Trolley.

Ride the S.L.U.T.

3.9 miles with 22 stops. Cool digital displays scrolling poetry. Artwork.

That’s an average of 936 feet, or about 3 football fields, between stops. The trolley would be lucky to get up to 25 mph before it has to slow down for the next station, and it probably averages around 10 mph including stoppage time. I could go faster on a bicycle.

Steve Z on August 22, 2013 at 9:57 AM

As we speak we’re spending money, we’re moving ahead.

Of course you are. You wont let something like the law stop you! Laws are for mere peasants. Jugears is the master at ignoring theaw and spending money.

Also, Brown is sounding a lot like Filbert here. Why is it that Libs think that all their efforts are always ‘moving’ their constituents ‘ahead’? The only thing this will do is run their state over the cliff faster. As fast as a bullet train.

Patriot Vet on August 22, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Filbert = Filner.

Damn autocorrect.

Patriot Vet on August 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM