Brown should also be remembered as a land-use governor par excellence who was willing to take political heat for projects that may not pay off for the public for years or even decades, writes Morris Newman >>read more
Considering their importance, the public hasn't heard much about Friends of Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority and Kings County v. Surface Transportation Board. The two cases, respectively before the California Supreme Court and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, could end California environmental review of public rail projects in California – most notably the High Speed Rail project and might indirectly affect private rail operations including oil trains.
The cases shaped up this winter into tests of whether the Surface Transportation Board (STB) can block environmental reviews of rail projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The STB and two state rail agencies contend that CEQA review crosses onto the STB's exclusive regulatory turf under the 1995 Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA), 49 U.S.C. §10101 et seq.
There is, perhaps, no place on Earth so supremely well suited for high-speed rail as the leeward side of the island of Formosa. Sheltered from the Pacific winds, all of Taiwan's major cities hug the island's western coastal plain, unbroken by the mountains that characterize the interior. Running in nearly a straight line, the train covers the 214 miles from the Taipei to Zouying in two hours. It now carries 44 million passengers per year.
Less than a day before trial, the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Madera/Fresno farming organizations announced they had reached a settlement -- dissolving the last legal challenge to the first segment of California's HSR. According to Anja Raudabaugh, executive director of the Madera Farm Bureau, the rail authority offered significant concessions including increased mitigation for agricultural impacts and compensation for landowners who are affected by the project.
Cambridge, Mass. -- Imagine you're a former Treasury secretary, or, a former Interior secretary, or a former governor with national influence and you've been tasked to discuss land use on a springtime Friday in 2011. What in the world do you talk about? You can't talk about development per se, because there isn't much of any. And you can't talk about particular cities because you're a former federal official who takes a broad view of the state of affairs. And you probably want to say something positive.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority business plan released at year's end is inconsistent, unrealistic and potentially illegal, according to a Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) report to the Assembly Transportation Committee.