Infrastructure

Feds abdicate on own rules for CA bullet train $

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
mercy.bake

The Obama administration has given the state $3.5 billion in funds for its bullet train project. But the 2009 stimulus funds that were the source of most of the federal bequest came with lots of strings attached, as is common with federal grants. Those rules were formally published in the Federal...

Water bond deal reached

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Writing Wednesday afternoon, a deal just was reached among Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature on a water bond for the November ballot, costing $7.5 billion. It would replace Proposition 43, the $11.1 billion bond currently in place. The Bee reported: Negot...

Groundwater takeover would prove costly

Monday, August 11th, 2014

In 2010, I did some freelance work for Susan Trager, one of California's top water lawyers. Unfortunately she died in 2011. Even though I had been writing about California since 1987 and had a general idea of state water policy, until I worked for Susan I had no idea how complex, developed and ev...

High-speed rail without federal money?

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Last week Gov. Jerry Brown said he would continue building the high-speed rail project without federal money. It's commendable he doesn't want to burden U.S. taxpayers. But it's hard to see how the project can be built without federal money, which has funded every recent major mass-transit projec...

San Onofre decommissioning: $4.4 billion wasted

Monday, August 4th, 2014

According to the U-T, the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear powerplant will cost $4.4 billion. The money, of course, will be paid by ratepayers. It is owned mainly by Southern California Edison and SGD&E. Even if stockholders are hit with the bill, that only would cut the stock prices...

Associated Press blows coverage of bullet-train ruling

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Led by the Associated Press, the mainstream media coverage of the state appellate court ruling overturning two anti-bullet train trial court rulings is somewhat peculiar in that it depicts the ruling as monumental. Read the 49-page decision, and it seems procedural. I wrote about this for the U-T...

Kings County attorney: Don’t overreact to pro-bullet train ruling

Friday, August 1st, 2014

A state appellate court ruling announced Thursday overturning Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny's 2013 decisions saying the state rail authority didn't have a legal financing plan or adequate environmental reviews to proceed with construction of the initial segment of the state bullet-tr...

Big blow to bullet train: Fresno County supes now oppose project

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
fresno county

Fresno has long been a hotbed of bipartisan support for the California High-Speed Rail Authority's plans to build a bullet-train network linking Northern and Southern California. The county Board of Supervisors endorsed the project five years ago, the Fresno Bee's liberal editorial page has long bee...

Bullet-train officials praise judge they called a threat to CA

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The California High-Speed Rail Authority got some good news from the courts last week. The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento upheld a lower court ruling rejecting legal challenges to the routing of the bullet train in the Gilroy-Las Banos area, specifically the Pacheco Pass. That ruling won...

State peddles idea that bullet train contractors are investors

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
vinci.2

On Jan. 11, 2010, the Legislative Analyst's Office issued a report on the latest iteration of the business plan for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. It contained a game-changing conclusion -- a predictable conclusion but still a crucial one. Here's what I wrote in a Union-Tribune editorial ...