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Ceqa Language

Ceqa Language

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Published by joejoe48
Porposed Hihg Speed Rail CEQA exemption
Porposed Hihg Speed Rail CEQA exemption

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Published by: joejoe48 on Jun 06, 2012
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06/06/2012

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 An
actto amend Section 185034 of, and to add and repeal Section 185039 of, the Public Utilities Code,relating to high-speed rail, to take effect immediately, bill related to the budget.
 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION
1.
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.
(j)
In
 
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 subdivision
(j)
does not eliminate or limit a court's authority
 
to order the High-Speed Rail Authority to address significant environmental impactscaused by the project.SEC.2. Section 185034 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:185034.
(a)
The authority may do any of the following:(1) Conduct engineering and other studies related to the selection and acquisition of rights-of-way and theselection of a franchisee,including, but not limited to, environmental impact studies, socioeconomic impactstudies, and financial feasibility studies.(2) Evaluate alternative high-speed rail technologies, systems and operators, and select an appropriate high-speed rail system.(3) Establish criteria for the award of a franchise.(4) Accept grants, fees,and allocations from the state, from political subdivisions of the state or from thefederal government, foreign governments, and private sources.(5) Select a proposed franchisee, a proposed route, and proposed terminal sites.(6) Enter into contracts with public and private entities for the preparation of the plan.(7) Prepare a detailed financing plan, including any necessary taxes, fees, or bonds to pay for the constructionof the high-speed train network.(8) Develop a proposed high-speed rail financial plan, including necessary taxes, bonds,or both, or other indebtedness, and submit the plan to the Legislature and to the Governor.(9) Keep the public informed of its activities.

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