KINGS COUNTY (KFSN) --A judge in Sacramento has dismissed the lawsuit brought by Kings County and two farmers, who were trying to stop the project.
Kings County has been the center of opposition to the High-Speed Rail Project. Two farmers, Aaron Fukuda, and John Tos, who would lose some farmland to the project joined the County Supervisors in arguing the project wouldn't work and it would waste tax dollars-- but the judge disagreed. For Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon, the loss in court was not a total defeat, and there may not be an appeal. "It's all about making them accountable, and not being a waste of taxpayer dollars."
Our reporter asked, "So you think you've gotten your message out and you might not have to go any further?"
Verboon responded, "You know it seems that way. We might not have to do anymore, but we will talk as a group before we make that decision."
Verboon said Kings County spent about $75,000 in court costs, with most of the cost being born by volunteer groups opposed to High-Speed Rail.
The Chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority, Dan Richard issued a statement saying, "Today's ruling confirms that we are indeed delivering a fast, modern and environmentally-friendly high-speed rail system that meets the voter-approved requirements under Proposition 1A. This five-year lawsuit wasted taxpayer dollars and delayed implementation, but we are moving forward and redoubling our efforts to build this transformative, job-creating investment in California's future."
Work on the High-Speed Rail Project is well underway in Fresno. A new plan calls for routing the first trains from the Central Valley to the Bay area, instead of the original plan to go to Southern California first.
The next step for High-Speed Rail is getting their new business plan approved. That goes before the legislature in May.
Critics said it remains overly optimistic but the authority said they have trimmed $4 billion from the budget, bringing the current cost estimate to $64 billion.
Photo of John Tos courtesy of the Hanford Sentinel.