Judge Michael P. Kenny issued a ruling from his Sacramento court Friday, Aug. 16, that the High Speed Rail Commission abused its discretion by approving an illegal funding plan, throwing into doubt the future of high-speed train service through California.
The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission is relying on high-speed rail funds for its expansion. But the public affairs manager for the regional rail commission, Thomas Reeves, says the ruling will not halt the planned expansion of Altamont Corridor Express.
"We are certainly going to wait and see what that ruling means for us, but we are not going to halt anything just because of the ruling," Reeves said. ACE currently runs four daily round trips to and from San Jose and plans to increase that to six round trips by 2018, and 10 by 2022.
Kenny ruled on a lawsuit brought two years ago against the High Speed Rail Commission for its 2011 business plan. Reeves said planning for ACE is based upon a more recent spending proposal.
"There was a new business plan that came out since then, and that may be null and void considering there is a new business plan," he said. "In the governor’s budget, there is several million dollars available and directed toward the Altamont corridor. So we have access to funds, through high-speed rail, to really focus on the environmental planning for upgraded ACE service through the Altamont."
The regional rail commission is waiting to see if the ruling, if upheld, will eventually affect its plans.
"We’re pursuing as normal, and of course we’ll be in discussions with the high-speed rail authority to see if we should change course," Reeves said.
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.