The Latest: California court bolsters bullet train opponents
Jul. 27, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a California Supreme Court ruling with implications for the state's high-speed rail project (all times local):
The California Supreme Court says federal law does not exempt state rail projects from California's strict environmental review law.
The decision on Thursday ensures continued legal complications for the $64 billion high-speed rail project championed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The high court voted 6-1 to overturn a lower court ruling and in doing so gave renewed hope to those who have used the California Environmental Quality Act to challenge the train.
The state's High-Speed Rail Authority had urged the court to find that federal law trumps the state's environmental law.
The court said that a lower court interpreted federal law too broadly when it agreed with the rail authority that federal law trumped state review.
An upcoming California Supreme Court ruling could help speed construction of the state's $64 billion high-speed rail project.
The court will decide Thursday whether federal law exempts state-owned and funded rail lines from California's strict environmental review law.
The ruling will come in a lawsuit filed under the California Environmental Quality Act challenging plans to introduce freight trains on a Northern California rail line.
Supporters and critics of the state's high-speed rail system say the decision also could apply to the bullet train planned between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The high-speed rail project has faced numerous lawsuits alleging violations of the environmental quality act. Those lawsuits could disappear if the California Supreme Court rules that federal law pre-empts the act for state rail projects.