Settlement reached in Calif. bullet train lawsuit

AP News
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Posted: Apr 18, 2013 6:32 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal oversight panel has ruled that it has jurisdiction over California's high-speed rail project, potentially causing delays and added costs if the state is forced to comply with federal railroad regulations.

But Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board, says he's confident the Surface Transportation Board will approve the rail plan's request for an exemption next month.

Thursday's decision comes as the authority settled a lawsuit with Central Valley farmers over their claims that rail planners failed to follow California environmental law.

A Sacramento judge approved the settlement, clearing the last legal hurdle for the $68 billion project to break ground this summer.

It's a significant win for Gov. Jerry Brown and allies of what would be the nation's first high-speed rail system.