Taxpayers received good news yesterday when Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny denied the State permission to put taxpayers in debt another almost nine billion dollars, which the California High Speed Rail Authority wanted to use on a project not even remotely close to what the State pitched to California voters when they approved high speed rail five years ago.
In March of this year, the High Speed Rail Authority, along with the High Speed Rail Passenger Finance Committee, filed a “validation action,” suing everyone in the state. If no one responded, they would have received a court ruling allowing the issuance of almost nine billion dollars in bonds to fund construction of a rail system that no longer resembles what voters approved with the passage of Proposition 1A in 2008.
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and others answered the complaint for validation. HJTA requested that the court deny the issuance of the bonds on the grounds that the High Speed Rail Authority’s plans had so deviated from the promises made to voters in Proposition 1A, that bonds for the project had not received voter approval.
Proposition 1A promised Californians the ability to be able to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles in two hours and forty minutes, but the revised system strayed far from what the voters intended. The idea of dedicated track for a high speed system was tossed aside in favor of a “blended system” where high speed trains would compete for track space with commuter and freight lines, which would significantly increase commute time.
Judge Kenny’s ruling today denied the validation because there was no evidence to support the idea that it was “necessary and desirable” to issue the bonds.
HJTA agrees with and applauds Judge Kenny’s decision. We will continue to fight to ensure that taxpayer funds are not wasted in support of what has clearly become a high speed boondoggle.