SACRAMENTO (AP) — Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto lost a bid to block the California high-speed rail line along the Caltrain corridor south of San Francisco after a judge dismissed a five-year-old lawsuit.
The ruling in Sacramento County Superior Court means the $68 billion rail system can use the Pacheco Pass to connect the San Joaquin Valley with the San Francisco Bay Area.
“We continue to move forward to start construction this summer and create thousands of jobs in California,” Jeff Morales, chief executive of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said in a statement Thursday.
The peninsula cities and environmentalists had argued that the route through the Pacheco Pass, which is east of Gilroy, would harm the environment. They sued under the California Environmental Quality Act, but the court sided with the rail authority.
The first full segment of the system will run from Madera to Bakersfield, but the project eventually is supposed to link Northern and Southern California with trains traveling up to 220 mph.
Other legal challenges remain as the rail authority proceeds with planning and engineering work, particularly from groups representing Central Valley farmers seeking to block the project.