May 4, 2012
State bullet train officials Thursday approved the environmental impact studies for an initial section of high-speed track to be built from Merced to Fresno, a decision that sets the stage for possible legal challenges from powerful Central Valley farming interests. Certification of the final state and federal environmental reports is a critical step before the California High-Speed Rail Authority can begin to secure government permits and award construction contracts for the first phase of the $68-billion project that would link Los Angeles and San Francisco with 200 mph trains.
April 19, 2013
A lawsuit alleging that approval of the high-speed rail system's first sections in the Central Valley violated state environmental laws was settled Thursday, eliminating a legal obstacle that could have delayed construction. A Sacramento County Superior Court judge approved an agreement that calls for the California High-Speed Rail Authority to further reduce the project's effects on farming operations, preserve agricultural land and provide additional compensation for landowners.
May 28, 2013
Dan Richard, chairman of the California high-speed rail authority, said Wednesday at a congressional hearing in Madera that the agency had reduced the risk of future cost overruns, but the project's price tag could increase in the future. "I am not going to sit here and promise that there will not be [cost growth]," Richard said. Richard was one of six witnesses called by the House rail subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater), who has been harshly critical of the agency's plans and what he contends is lack of compliance with a voter-approved measure that provided $9 billion for the system.
May 3, 2013
The California bullet train agency on Thursday defended its bidding criteria for selecting the winner for its first construction contract, saying that the process held down prices and was handled properly. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has come under fire from critics who assert changes to the bidding criteria could jeopardize the quality of the project. The authority tentatively chose a team led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to build a 29-mile segment of track through Fresno even though it had the lowest technical score.
April 19, 2013
State high-speed rail officials acknowledged Thursday that they changed their rules for selecting a builder for the bullet train's first phase in the Central Valley, a shift that subsequently made it possible for a consortium led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to be ranked as the top candidate despite receiving the lowest technical rating. The California High-Speed Rail Authority announced last week that the Tutor Perini-Zachry-Parsons joint venture was the top-rated contender among five bidders seeking to build the initial 29 miles of track between Madera and Fresno.
June 14, 2013
California's bullet train agency won a key legal ruling Thursday, obtaining an exemption from regulatory oversight by the federal Surface Transportation Board for construction of the first segment of the rail system that would run 220 mph trains from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The ruling is among several barriers it has successfully navigated in the long-sought start of construction, though the state still must secure a deal with powerful freight railroads, obtain a key permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and prevail in a lawsuit that alleges the rail plan violates a 2008 voter-approved bond measure.
November 27, 2012
A few hundred faithful pass through the doors of Pastor Bob Childress' sanctuary every Sunday, but he worries that sometime in the next decade a 220-mph bullet train may take their place. The future route of the train, as currently drawn, takes dead aim for the Church of the Canyons, an evangelical refuge on Sand Canyon Road in Santa Clarita with a congregation of 450. "This will be an excellent test of our faith," Childress said. California's bullet train has generated plenty of opposition in the areas around the San Gabriel Mountains.
November 1, 2012
Officials at the California bullet train agency have pushed back by months a key milestone in the upcoming construction, though they say the project is not falling behind and that they will be able to build 130 miles of track in the Central Valley by 2017. Jeff Morales, chief executive officer of the project, acknowledged long-standing rumors in the construction industry that the deadline for submitting bids on the first segment would be pushed back from this week to Jan. 18, coming after an earlier revision that pushed the deadline back from September.
June 6, 2001
Karen S. Kim BURBANK -- A state agency proposing to build a high-speed transportation system in California by 2020 is looking at Burbank as a possible site for its San Fernando Valley station. Officials of the California High-Speed Rail Authority presented their proposal to Burbank city officials Thursday for building a train, traveling at speeds faster than 200 mph, that would connect Sacramento and the Bay Area to Bakersfield, Los Angeles and San Diego.