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State's top court asked to intervene in bullet train financing

Courts and the JudiciaryEconomy, Business and FinanceLaws and LegislationFinanceCrime, Law and JusticeJerry Brown

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration Friday asked the California Supreme Court to block two trial court rulings that could indefinitely delay construction of a high-speed rail line linking Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority asked the state high court to block by March 1 two rulings by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny that would impede the state's ability to finance the bullet train in the near future.

Unless the state Supreme Court intervenes, "the future of the rail system may effectively be determined by two Superior Court rulings untethered from the law approved by the Legislature and the voters to build it," lawyers for the state wrote.

The administration said the rulings, issued in late November, blocked access to bond funds for the high-speed rail system and “cast a cloud of uncertainty over the entire voter-approved project.”   

Billions of  dollars in federal grants to build the Central Valley portion of the system have been imperiled, and other projects financed with general obligation bonds could also be disrupted, the administration argued.

The court has not given any indication when it would consider the petition.

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