Local

High speed rail chooses preferred route through the Valley

Friday, November 08, 2013

Despite Ag land anger over the High-Speed Rail a route between Fresno and Bakersfield is now in play. If all goes according to plan, the new rail line would skirt alongside Corcoran and Hanford to the east, planting it closer to Highway 99 and cities like Visalia.

Cotton and alfalfa farmer Tim Cooper says he understands the High-Speed Rail will be built right through his fertile land, and directly in front of his home. He says that would cut off access to any public roads.

"My parents bought this about 56," Cooper said. "My brother and I are operating it now. My mother owns most of it. And it's just heart breaking to know that they're going to cut it up."

"I'm just a grain of sand in this whole thing," Cooper added. "It just goes& everybody down the line is affected."

Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea is a vocal support of the bullet train and was in Sacramento for the rail authority meeting. He says HSR will only impact a tiny fraction of ag-land, and bring much-needed jobs to the valley.

"We want to make sure that the support is there," Perea said. "And that the authority makes all the efforts they need to make to people whose land is going to be affected. But the bottom line is this is a major infrastructure project for California that has to happen."

The rail route is not yet final, and won't be until the Spring of 2014.

And then once that alignment is finalized by our board, it has to also get concurrent from the federal government and they also expect to do that in the Spring of 2014 as well," said Lisa Marie Alley, a spokesperson for the rail authority.

Until then, property owners like Cooper are just left to wait and see what happens. "The whole thing is a big question mark," he said.

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Tags:
fresno, bakersfield, high speed rail, henry t. perea, local, rick montanez
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