The California Supreme Court granted Governor Jerry Brown’s request to expedite review by an appeals court of a lower-court decision to freeze access to bond money for the state high-speed rail project. However, the Supreme Court stopped short of taking the case themselves as desired by Brown. However, even with the accelerated timeframe, a decision may come well after April 1, when the state must spend its own money to start construction in order to receive matching federal funds. Despite the recent, short-term setbacks, it is important to keep an eye on the larger vision of intercity HSR. A pair of contributors argues as much, stating that HSR will be essential in reducing carbon emissions per state objectives in the coming decades.
While discussion on HSR continues, the National Association of Railroad Passengers reports that the California State Senate announced the formation of the Select Committee on Passenger Rail on January 27. The committee will meet this spring to discuss policies to improve passenger rail service in the state.