On Tuesday, April 12, the public weighed in on the new California High-Speed Rail proposal that had several updated routes from Bakersfield to Palmdale, Palmdale to Burbank, Burbank to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Anaheim. With several mountain ranges, fault lines, natural areas and densely populated regions cutting through the proposed routes, the public is voicing their opinions about the new direction of the rail project.
The five-hour meeting brought in many people who expressed their concerns over the proposed rail lines. During the meeting, the San Fernando Valley residents expressed their concern over the threat to endangered species and the visual blight the rail line will cause. Residents said that the routes between Palmdale and Burbank would ruin the rural character of their neighborhoods.
“The public input is very important to us,” said authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley, as quoted on 89.3 KPCC. “At the end of the day we want maximum ridership and the least impact to people.”
The recent proposal has scaled back the plans for above-ground tracks in densely populated areas that had many communities in northern San Fernando Valley in opposition. After public comment, this is still a concern for many of the communities, whose kids would have to play near the tracks.
The bulk of public opposition at Tuesday’s meeting was from San Fernando Valley residents and their concern about the proposed lines through the San Gabriel Mountains. The tunnels are proposed to surface in rural areas. “It is the last rural area,” said Josie Zarat, a resident of Shadow Hills. “If you put up a high-speed rail, it will destroy the northeast valley.”
A group of union leaders representing painters, electricians and other union workers, said the failure to initiate the project will harm the state’s economy. The union leaders suggested that the board should ignore the residents who just didn’t want the rail in their own backyard.
But residents like Clark Schickler disagree. “I’m 68 years old,” he said. “I’m not going to move. Our house belongs to my wife and me, not the state of California.”
Rail officials are taking public comment on route options through the end of the summer. They hope to finalize the routes and conduct environmental tests by the end of this year. The proposed routes are part of a $64 billion project to build a high-speed rail in California that will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles.
If you are a property owner or business that might be taken by the proposed rail lines, you can learn more by giving us a call at 866-EM-DOMAIN.