The Fresno County Board of Supervisors decided to wait on a proposal Tuesday that would have formally positioned the county as opposed to California’s high speed rail project. The effort which was led by Supervisor Debbie Poochigian, who says the project’s funding should be diverted to other areas like water or public safety.
Poochigian spoke with Valley Public Radio on Monday afternoon before the meeting:
Poochigian: “I think we’ve been patient. We’ve given them six years to put together a viable plan. We’ve given them six years to secure funding. I just think now’s the time to say, you know it might be time to cut our losses.”
While Fresno County doesn’t have the power to stop the project, Poochigian says she wants the county to send a message to the rail authority and Governor Brown about the bullet train.
Poochigian: “We have an opinion and I think that it’s in our purview to share our opinion and we have concerns. And we’ve had concerns for the last five or six years and it’s kind of just come to a head.”
Poochigian also downplayed claims from supporters that the train would help diversify the valley’s economy on a large scale, calling the project a threat to Fresno’s ag economy.
Poochigian: “I’m very concerned that it’s not going to happen. And they’re going to ruin what we have, and as we’re feeding the rest of the world they’re taking away some of that opportunity. We do have a poor economy. Our area is one of the poorest. Would someone live here and maybe take a high speed rail train to San Francisco and work? Yeah maybe they would if they like 109 degree weather and 17 degrees in the winter. Maybe they would, there would be some. But I just have the concern that their job numbers are inflated.”
The board is expected to revisit the issue later this month.