As we've discussed, there are some well-off folks on the Peninsula who would like to see the California high-speed rail project die or at the very least get re-routed over a new bridge across the Bay which will never be built. Well, as it happens, they're not the only ones gearing up for their days in court! A group of farmers, farm advocates, and towns in Kings County are getting ready to submit their comments to a draft environmental review, and they're planning to fight to the death over the loss of "thousands of acres of prime farm land between Fresno and Bakersfield." As California Watch reports, delays or discussion of rerouting the train in this central segment could derail the entire project, because construction needs to start there soon if federal stimulus cash isn't going to get forfeited.
There's $3.5 billion in federal money that needs to be spent by 2017, and the first phase of construction on the high-speed line was supposed to be right there, in the Central Valley, but officials in the area are frustrated that the High Speed Rail Authority refused a proposal to re-route the train along the Highway 99 corridor. The Authority insists that the curves necessary in the tracks along that corridor -- not to mention potential for noise complaints for towns along that highway -- would inhibit the speed of the train, which has to make the LA-SF trip in under three hours.
Oh, also, there's a fight brewing in Palmdale, near LA, because they don't want the train coming through their town either. And officials say that the costs and delays associated with these legal cases could potentially spoil the whole thing for everyone. So yes, it's a huge project, affecting many, many municipalities. But how the hell did the I-5 get constructed? We're inclined to tell Palmdale to suck it, but we doubt they'd take that lightly.