Judge rejects NIMBY Novato's bid to block NCRA track repairs
- 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
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
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
[BATN: See also:
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Marin Co. rail foes Arnold, Leland resign from NCRA board
Comment: NCRA boss blasts NIMBY Novato on anti-train lawsuit
Über-NIMBY Novato protests NCRA rail crossing improvements
Comment: Anti-rail NIMBY Novato explains its lawsuit against NCRA
Anti-SMART NIMBY Novato sues over NCRA track repairs
NIMBY Novato sues NCRA to derail planned freight trains
Novato sues to derail NCRA plan to resume freight train service
Column: Long-dead NCRA's freight plans complicate SMART EIR
SMART to update EIR; re-vote planned for November 2008
Comment: SMART or not -- freight trains coming to Novato
Comment: SMART foes work to whip up freight train fears