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Kings County High Speed Rail Route Draws Opposition

Nov 8, 2013

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 Thursday. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been a rough ride.

The High-Speed Rail Authority has voted to support a route that goes through eastern Kings County. Board members say it will have less environmental impact than an alternate path.

But Ross Browning, who lives in Kings County says 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. This project should not be here.” 

Browning’s concerns were echoed by several others in the meeting. Kings County officials have filed a lawsuit against the project.

But supporters of the project say it will bring jobs to the Central Valley and provide rapid transportation around the state. 

Rail 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. 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,” said Richard.

In fact, 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 on the suit is scheduled for Friday in Sacramento.