The first setback came last week: two rulings from the same Sacramento County Superior Court judge. One blocks the state from selling $8 billion in voter-approved high-speed rail bonds. The other requires the project’s $68 billion funding plan to be rewritten.
Then this week came word that federal regulators had rejected the state’s request to speed up the approval process.
But even though High-Speed Rail Board Chair Dan Richard acknowledges the state has its work cut out for it, he insists construction of the project’s first phase in the Central Valley won’t be affected. “Nothing in those rulings changed our ability to move forward. We need to deal with this as a back-end problem. But where we are right now, we’re moving forward into the construction phase,” Richard told reporters at a High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting Thursday in Sacramento.
Richard says the contractor has already begun the design work, and construction will get under way in January or February.