Last week the state Treasurer approved $2.6 billion to be spent by the California High Speed Rail Authority including money for construction work in the Central Valley.The decision led to the state Department of Finance approving the Authority request to sell that portion of the nearly $10 billion in bonds that voters approved through Prop 1A in 2008 for the bullet train.
But Kings County and others have filed suit in late 2016 against both the state and the Authority arguing that the Authority is changing the plan approved by voters and that this action is illegal.
The plaintiffs argue that if the California legislature or the Authority wants to deviate from Prop 1A, they need to ask voters to authorize those changes. Prop 1A was a constitutional measure that cannot be altered by simple legislative action, they say. The lawsuit challenges the legality of AB1889, a bill that gives the Authority flexibility on how monies can be spent through Prop1A.
Now that the Department of Finance approved the funding plans as of Friday March 3, the Plaintiffs say they will go to court in Sacramento to try to block any expenditure.
“We hope to file a request to the judge to grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) as soon as this Friday” says attorney Stuart Flashman. “We expect it is likely the judge will rule on our request the same day.” That would be March 10.
The Authority has said they expected to respond the original lawsuit by March 15.
The Authority wants to use the $2.69 billion in Prop 1A bond money along with federal and state cap-and-trade funds to complete the 119-mile San Joaquin Valley section from Madera south to just north of Bakersfield.
Both Hanford farmer John Tos and the Kings County Board of Supervisors are plaintiffs.