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San Fernando Valley Pushes Back against High-Speed Rail

Opposition to the California bullet train is growing, permeating both wealthy and working-class communities alike.

In San Fernando, seventy people led by city officials entered an open house meeting led by train officials, erecting their own public address system to voice their anger over the train invading their community. The city officials wanted answers from state officials about the train’s effect on their community.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, Mayor Pro Tem Sylvia Ballin snapped at state officials: “The bottom line is you are not really welcome///We will lose in the city $1.3 million annually as a result of your brilliant planning. We are here to tell you we will not accept it quietly, not one bit.” City Manager Brian Saeki told the Times<.em>, “The route would destroy this community, splitting it north to south.” The Times reported that state officials refused to answer the residents’ questions, which angered the protesters.

The intended route for the bullet train would travel from Palmdale to Burbank Bob Hope Airport, aligning with the California 14 and the 5 Freeway, thus affecting neighborhoods in Pacoima, Sylmar, and Santa Clarita–all of which have protested the proposed route.

The three alternatives would run from Burbank Airport for 20 miles, mostly underground and traveling under the mountains, through the San Fernando complex of earthquake faults and over the San Andreas fault above ground.

The protests are not restricted to Southern California; wealthy communities in the Silicon Valley led protests that forced the proposed route for the train to be shifted to share existing tracks with commuter rail and reduce its speeds by half. In the Central Valley, farmers filed lawsuits that delayed the project and would not accept the state’s proposed price for buying their land.

An High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting scheduled for June 9 in downtown Los Angeles will likely draw numerous protesters, who plan to slam the authority for limiting them to a 90-second time limit.

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