The California High-Speed Rail Authority is battling new obstacles in its quest to build the track for the bullet train, including the removal of eight miles of track originally planned to end near Bakersfield, and strong opposition from San Fernando communities determined to prevent the train from traveling above ground in or near their communities.
The eight miles of track cut by bullet rain officials came from the initial 130-mile section in the Central Valley, according to the Los Angeles Times. The track will now end just north of Shafter. The train authority would prefer to build an elevated structure through Shafter’s downtown, but that has been challenged in court.
Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the rail authority, insisted to the Times that the Bakersfield lawsuits and settlement represented “an evolution of the project.” She added that the change in the train’s route will not delay the project.
Meanwhile, residents and officials from Santa Clarita, San Fernando, Pacoima, and other surrounding communities have organized to oppose the train’s proposed route through their areas, the Times notes.. Unhappy with the proposed route closely following California 14, the communities want the route to travel primarily underground.
The communities’ opposition was bolstered by a 62-page report by the rail authority released last week, which predicted some of the impacts of the project on the area.
Last week, County Mayor Michael Antonovich, Sheila Kuehl of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles City Councilman Felipe Fuentes wrote a letter to rail authority Chairman Dan Richard blasting the overland train route, calling it “untenable.”
On Tuesday, community residents and officials planned to hold a rally and then attend a California High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting in downtown Los Angeles.