By JULIET WILLIAMSAssociated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A federal oversight panel has ruled that it has jurisdiction over California's high-speed rail project, potentially causing delays and added costs if the state is forced to comply with federal railroad regulations.
But Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board, says he's confident the Surface Transportation Board will approve the rail plan's request for an exemption next month.
Thursday's decision comes as the authority settled a lawsuit with Central Valley farmers over their claims that rail planners failed to follow California environmental law.
A Sacramento judge approved the settlement, clearing the last legal hurdle for the $68 billion project to break ground this summer.
It's a significant win for Gov. Jerry Brown and allies of what would be the nation's first high-speed rail system.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.