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Supporters, opponents differ on court order for more rail studies

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Supporters and opponents of the city’s $5.26 billion rail project continue to disagree over the impact of a ruling by a federal court judge on Thursday that orders transit officials to do more work before proceeding.

Mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano, who has vowed to kill the project if elected on Tuesday, said today visiting U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima’s decision will lead to the city needing to redo its final environmental impact statement and Record of Decision before continuing with the rail project, something that would add a considerable amount of time, effort and money.

But outgoing Mayor Peter Carlisle and other rail advocates said Cayetano is overstating the impact of Tashima’s ruling to try to score points with voters in the waning days of a close election fight with opponent Kirk Caldwell.

The 45-page decision by Tashima sided with the city on all but three of 57 points of concern raised in the 2011 lawsuit against the city filed by Cayetano and other rail opponents.

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