Last Wednesday, the Federal Railroad Administration approved construction on the $69 billion high-speed rail line that will someday roll through California’s central valley.
Two months after receiving approval from the state legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, the project passed its environmental impact review and inched one step closer to fruition. However, as has happened at every step along the way, the project is expecting to face more lawsuits from those who believe it is environmentally unsound.
The 41-page impact review showed that there will be “significant” negative impacts, but still deemed the project worthwhile. Private construction firms will now have until November to bid on the first $2 billion contract that will connect Merced to Fresno. It will take until Spring for the winning contractor to get together blueprints and workers for the project.
Construction may as yet be delayed as the groups that have been suing along the way are unlikely to back down. From the Mercury News:
Three Central Valley groups in June filed lawsuits after the state signed off on its environment plan, and now they are expected to sue again over the federal approval.
“There are quite a few coalitions that have been ramping up for months waiting for this to drop,” said Anja Raudabaugh, executive director of the Madera County Farm Bureau, one of the groups suing. “I expect there will be a legal challenge mounted against this.”