Judge: California high-speed rail violates ballot initiative

high speed rail

Courtesy California High Speed Rail Authority

Dealing a major blow to California's high-speed rail project, a Sacramento County judge has ruled that the agency overseeing the bullet train failed to comply with the financial and environmental requirements voters were promised on the ballot.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, in a ruling late Friday, said the California High-Speed Rail Authority "abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law."

But he declined to immediately halt funding for the project and said he will hold another hearing to determine what happens next.

Landowners in the Central Valley argued in the 2011 lawsuit that the $68 billion high-speed rail plan did not meet the promises made to voters in 2008, when they approved selling $10 billion in bonds for it.

Proposition 1A required the agency to identify funding for the entire first segment of the project and clear all environmental hurdles.

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