SACRAMENTO -- Cities on the peninsula south of San Francisco made their case Friday to halt the extension of California's proposed high-speed rail line through the area.
If successful, the coalition that includes Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park would jeopardize plans to bring high-speed rail into one of California's top destinations.
Lawyers for the group asked Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny to block the California High-Speed Rail Authority from proceeding with a route between San Francisco and the Central Valley. They say planners made flawed estimates of ridership and ignored traffic problems and other possible impacts.
"There will be congestion on highways south of San Jose that people won't be aware of, and they should have been made aware," said Stuart Flashman, attorney for the coalition.
Lawyers for the rail authority argued that it was too early in the project for the kind of detailed analysis the plaintiffs demand, and that those environmental effects will be examined in the next phase of work.
The judge is expected to rule within 90 days.
Detailed reports on the first planned segment of the high-speed rail line, between Merced and Bakersfield, were released this week. They showed estimated costs of $10 billion to $13.9 billion, far higher than a 2009 estimate that projected the segment would cost $7.1 billion.
Construction in that stretch is scheduled to start next year.
The total cost of connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim with high-speed service by 2020, previously estimated at $43 billion, also is expected to rise.
Voters approved $9 billion in state bonds for the project in 2008.