THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:(a) The continued growth of the population of California will require major investments, measured in the tensof billions of dollars, in expanded transportation systems over the coming decades.(b) High-speed rail can meet those demands more effectively and at lower costs than alternatives, and can bedelivered through a fiscally responsible phased implementation plan that ties the system together with regionallocal rail networks and generates a net positive cash flow from its operations.(c) The Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21 st Century (Chapter 20 (commencingwith Section 2704) of Division 3 of the Streets and Highways Code) enacted by the voters in the November 4,2008, statewide general election, made the High-Speed Rail Authority responsible for building and operatinga high-speed rail system to be integrated with the state's intercity rail and bus networks and to cover some 800miles at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour.(d) The high-speed rail system will link all major cities with a new state-of-the-art transportation option thatwill increase mobility while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.(e) The route of high-speed rail is generally described in statute and was approved by the voters in 2008 withthe enactment of the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21 st Century.(f) The California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the PublicResources Code) (CEQA) has never been applied to a project of this size,complexity, and phasing. The
application of CEQ A to programs that are divided into a series of smaller discrete projects,horizontal andvertical, that build upon one another is unclear .
(g) Many projects challenged under CEQA are temporarily enjoined or stayed until a final judgment on theCEQA action is rendered.(h) Enjoining or staying construction of the high-speed rail project pending a final nonappealable judgment ona CEQA claim would significantly escalate the costs of construction and would result in potential additionalcosts for materials, rights-of-way, and wages, and could result in forfeiture of grant funds awarded toCalifornia in grant application competitions pursuant to the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Actof 2009 (ARRA) (Public Law 111-5).(i) Commencing the construction of a high-speed rail project on schedule will provide an immediate andunprecedented opportunity for California's economy through the creation of jobs, urban redevelopment,andmixed-use transit hubs, and the creation of a whole new industry of high-speed rail-related businesses andtechnology.
a CEQA claim requesting review of the high-speed rail project, courts may be precluded from fullyconsidering the impact of the loss of ARRA funds in evaluating whether relief should be granted.Accordingly,it is imperative that the court consider and balance the harm to the public, the state,and the employees, both
actual and potential,should the project be stopped or suspended.
(k) Requiring a court to consider and balance the harm to the public,state,and employees as described in
does not eliminate or limit a court's authority