High-speed rail signs contract for initial section 

click to enlarge Aaron Fukuda
  • AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
  • In this photo taken Monday, July 16, 2013, Aaron Fukuda poses outside his home that lies in one of the proposed routes of California's high-speed rail in Hanford, Calif. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, that the California High-Speed Rail Authority failed to comply with financial and environmental promises made to voters when they approved initial funding for the project five years ago.

The agency in charge of California's high-speed rail project has signed a nearly $1 billion contract to start work on the first 30 miles of track in the Central Valley, just as a judge's order is casting doubt on the project's future.

Dan Richard, chairman of the board that oversees the California High-Speed Rail Authority, tells The Associated Press the contract was signed Friday morning.

Hours later, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled that the agency's funding plan and environmental review did not meet the promises made to voters when they authorized the bullet train in 2008.

The board approved the $985 million deal with a consortium led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini in June. The contract says the consortium will design and build the bullet train segment running from Madera to Fresno.

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