The California High-Speed Rail Authority is pushing forward with plans for its Fresno to Bakersfield segment. The board accepted a proposed route at a meeting today that goes through eastern Kings County. Board members say it will have less environmental impact than an alternate path.
The decision came following a meeting in which several residents and local elected officials voiced opposition to the plan. Ross Browning, who lives in Kings County, said the high speed rail project will be devastating to local agriculture.
“This is the destruction of Kings County’s highly efficiently planning, construction and operations of farms and dairies," he said. "This project should not be here.”
Authority Board Chair Dan Richard stressed this is not a final decision.
“There is nothing that precludes this board, by this action today, from taking a different action when we actually adopt the environmental documents," he said. "And, in fact, our federal counterparts may command us to look at or consider other things as they do their work pursuant to their laws.”
A final decision on the route will not be made for several months.
Meanwhile, Kings County has filed suit against the Rail Authority, saying it’s using bond money illegally. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.