California’s hopes for a $64 billion high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco has overcome some huge hurdles in recent weeks.
A petition for a ballot initiative that would have asked voters to decide between the rail line and water projects in the drought-ridden state failed to achieve enough signatures by a March 25 deadline.
While supporters of the petition have promised to try again in two years, the project will be spared the current wave of public disapproval caused in large part by months of bad press.
Just weeks ago, a superior court judge in Sacramento threw out a lawsuit alleging that the California High Speed Rail Authority, the body responsible for the project, was dramatically over budget and had failed to meet obligations for the future train line’s performance as outlined in the Proposition 1A Bond Act.
The judge ruled that it was far to early to hear such allegations when so many variables were still unknown, but seemed to leave room for future suits, the Los Angeles times reported.
“While Plaintiffs have produced evidence that raises substantial concerns about the currently proposed system’s ability to ultimately comply with the Bond Act, the [California High Speed Rail] Authority has yet to produce the funding plan that makes those issues ripe for review,” superior court judge Michael P. Kenny ruled.
The High Speed Rail Authority, which has already overseen initial construction of the project, called the ruling a sign that the project would indeed be completed as planned.
“This five-year lawsuit wasted taxpayer dollars and delayed implementation, but we are moving forward and redoubling our efforts to build this transformative, job-creating investment in California’s future,” High Speed Rail Authority chairman Dan Richard said in a statement.
While the news may give the project — the subject of bitter political strife since its inception — some temporary respite, there are likely many challenges ahead.