High Speed Rail Chairman Visits Fresno
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno city and county leaders put on an all-out sales pitch in an effort to land a high-speed rail heavy maintenance facility.
California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Curt Pringle even took an aerial tour of Fresno on Thursday. Pringle said Fresno has given an awesome presentation.
Thirteen sites from Merced to the north to Shafter to the south are being considered for the high speed rail maintenance facility.
A police helicopter was part of the VIP treatment given Curt Pringle. Pringle met with city, county and business leaders who wanted show why Fresno is the ideal location for a maintenance facility.
Pringle said, "When issues are described to you it's much better to be able to have an understanding in your mind's eye of how they fit in the overall system and in the community."
Architects from HOK laid out three different site plans for the facility, which would be located south of Fresno.
Pringle is also the mayor of Anaheim. He says technical issues will eliminate some sites. Pringle explained, "Some proposals are too far from rail lines. Some proposals make it too hard for trains to exit in a high speed stretch."
Bullet trains traveling 220 miles an hour would link the Bay Area, the Valley and Southern California.
Pringle says actual digging on the project will begin by 2012.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said of the collaborative effort, "This is all hands on deck. It means that much to us to see those 2300 jobs, high-paying permanent jobs that are here because we've saying all along high-speed rail is a game changer for Fresno, for California."
Pringle was also taken for a tour of Fresno City College. In a computer aided manufacturing lab, students were excited by the possibility skills learned here could translate to jobs at a high speed rail facility.
FCC sophomore Chris Mathis said, "It's really tough to find a good job right now where you can actually support so yourself so having them here and the thought that you could actually have a future making a decent income and supporting yourself is good to see."
Pringle wasn't specific on when the authority will select a site.
The Fresno bid was also boosted by signed letters of support from LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
fresno, ashley swearengin, economy, local, dale yurong
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