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Judge rejects NIMBY Novato's bid to block NCRA track repairs

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  • 10/18 Redwood City Daily
    Published Thursday, October 18, 2007, by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Bid to block rail repairs rejected Judge says rail authority can fix track, denying
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2007
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      Published Thursday, October 18, 2007, by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

      Bid to block rail repairs rejected

      Judge says rail authority can fix track, denying Novato restraining
      order

      By Paul Payne
      The Press Democrat

      A Marin County judge has rejected the city of Novato's bid for a
      temporary restraining order to block the repair of 62 miles of track
      between Windsor and Highway 37, rail officials said Wednesday.

      Superior Court Judge James Ritchie ruled the city did not show
      sufficient cause for the interim measure, thus allowing work to
      continue pending a hearing Dec. 11, said Mitch Stogner, North Coast
      Rail Authority executive director.

      "The first round has clearly gone to NCRA and we think the subsequent
      rounds will as well," Stogner said.

      Novato sued the rail authority last month over plans to resume
      freight service that could send up to 16 trains a day rumbling
      through town.

      City officials contend repair work is being done without proper
      environmental reviews, denying residents a chance to comment on
      emissions, noise, traffic congestion and safety concerns.

      Since most freight service was discontinued at least a decade ago,
      suburban neighborhoods have formed near the tracks, making their
      use problematic, Novato City Manager Daniel Keen said in a recent
      opinion piece in The Press Democrat.

      But rail officials argue state law allows repair or replacement of
      existing property without the review process.

      Stogner said the authority is conducting environmental studies on
      freight operations it plans to resume by June.

      To open the lines, it intends to repair 54 crossing signals at a
      cost of $9 million and spend $13.5 million to upgrade bridges and
      track, Stogner said.

      The money was part of a state transportation grant the authority
      received in 2000, Stogner said.

      A portion of the repaired rail could someday carry commuter trains
      between Sonoma and Marin counties.

      "The city of Novato has wasted a lot of taxpayer money trying to
      stop another taxpayer supported entity from carrying out its
      mandate," Stogner said. "That's the lunacy of it."


      You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-762-7297 or
      paul.payne@...


      [BATN: See also:

      Novato sued over actions leading to anti-rail NCRA lawsuit
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36459

      Marin Co. rail foes Arnold, Leland resign from NCRA board
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36458

      Comment: NCRA boss blasts NIMBY Novato on anti-train lawsuit
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36415

      Über-NIMBY Novato protests NCRA rail crossing improvements
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36403

      Comment: Anti-rail NIMBY Novato explains its lawsuit against NCRA
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36365

      Anti-SMART NIMBY Novato sues over NCRA track repairs
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36323

      NIMBY Novato sues NCRA to derail planned freight trains
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36283

      Novato sues to derail NCRA plan to resume freight train service
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36262

      Column: Long-dead NCRA's freight plans complicate SMART EIR
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36247

      SMART to update EIR; re-vote planned for November 2008
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/36162

      Comment: SMART or not -- freight trains coming to Novato
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/35792

      Comment: SMART foes work to whip up freight train fears
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/35791 ]
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