Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

Ralph Vartabedian

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Past articles by Ralph:

Red tape ensnares L.A.'s plan to capture more storm water, despite $556 million raised

In 2018, L.A. County voters approved Measure W, a massive tax aimed at protecting beaches and improving water supply through storm water capture. Yet only $95.5 million has been disbursed for projects out of $556 million collected. → Read More

Hollywood Burbank Airport sues California's bullet train

Hollywood Burbank Airport filed a lawsuit seeking to block approval of an environmental report for the California high-speed rail project. → Read More

California bullet train estimates a $5 billion cost increase

In a new draft business plan, the California High-Speed Rail Authority acknowledged that costs have risen roughly $5 billion. → Read More

Key engineering firm ordered to stop work for BART during conflict of interest review

BART orders a key partner, San Francisco-based engineering firm PGH Wong, to stop all work pending a conflict of interest review. → Read More

Burbank officials fear bullet train will compromise airport safety and water supplies

Local officials warn of impacts from California high-speed rail project on Hollywood Burbank Airport and Burbank’s water supply. → Read More

State appeals court rejects long-standing challenge to California bullet train

A state appeals court has affirmed that the bullet train project did not violate the California Constitution with its segmented planning approach. → Read More

Biden infrastructure funds will help state bullet train, but not as much as boosters hoped

Amtrak is likely to be the biggest rail winner, getting the lion's share of $66 billion to upgrade the northeast corridor from Boston to Washington. → Read More

Bullet train leaves a trail of grief among the disadvantaged of the San Joaquin Valley

The California High-Speed Rail Project pledged to minimize impacts on low-income people, but many say the project has run roughshod through their communities. → Read More

Cost overruns hit California bullet train again amid a new financial crunch

The state's High-Speed Rail Authority faces at least $1 billion in more cost overruns from its contractors, at a time when its finances are highly complicated. → Read More

After this desert city faced dry taps, California rushed through emergency water funding

Officials in Needles feared the city could go dry but state officials have come through with a $2 million bailout. → Read More

Newsom and California lawmakers hit an impasse on financing bullet train

A battle to secure an additional $4.2 billion for the California bullet train has hit an impasse, with Gov. → Read More

Deadlines loom for California bullet train in its search for new funding

At a critical time, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is unsure about funding from the Legislature and President Biden's infrastructure plan. → Read More

California Democrats increasingly divided over bullet train

Some California legislators want to explore investing in battery-powered trains, an idea that Newsom and the state's two U.S. senators oppose. → Read More

Are Electric Trains the Future for the American Railroad?

Much will depend on the degree that regulators pressure railroads to clean up their emissions. In California, the state Air Resources Board wants railroads to reduce or even eliminate diesels in the next 14 years. → Read More

Battery-powered trains could be a climate game changer. Is everyone all aboard?

The rail industry is testing trains powered by fuel cells and lithium batteries. But it is resisting a switch from diesel locomotives due to costs. → Read More

Nearly $1 billion restored to California bullet train after Biden officials reverse Trump

The federal transportation agency agrees to restore nearly $1 billion in funding for high-speed rail, but the project is still in a deep funding hole. → Read More

Unions face big test with California's troubled bullet train

Organized labor has provided crucial support for the high-speed rail project, discouraging any straying from California's current plan. → Read More

No. 2 executive at California bullet train agency out after long investigation

Joe Hedges, the chief operating officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, has left the agency after a lengthy investigation. → Read More

California bullet train isn't the jobs creator some claim

Banners in the Central Valley proclaim thousands of jobs created by the high-speed rail project. The real numbers are more complicated. → Read More

Bullet train contractor warns of further two-year delay as state struggles to secure land

A business plan approved by the California High-Speed Rail Authority last week did not account for a contractor's warning of a two-year delay. → Read More