Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

High speed rail releases revised environmental study

Jul 17, 2012

The California High Speed Rail Authority has released a Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project section between Fresno and Bakersfield. The Authority has provided alternative routes in response to public dissatisfaction with the proposals in the original report released last year.

Frank Oliveira of the group Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability, says he's still concerned with the revised draft, as he isn't convinced the Authority has done what they can to understand the effects the high speed rail could have in the Valley.

"I would like to think that they would've taken some of the information we were complaining about and address it better. But there are so many things that they have not talked to people on the ground about, that the environmental impact report is going to be woefully efficient.

Among the issues Oliveira says the high speed rail could create depending on the route it takes, are a lack of profitable businesses if they continue to exist with the railway, less employment opportunities, and increased taxes to complete the project - all of which he says the Authority didn't answer in the original environmental impact report.

"They've never done any serious, on-the-ground analysis of what they're destroying. They said that they wouldn't release this draft environmental impact report until they addressed the county's concerns. Well, they haven't done that. They've never operated in good faith, so why should we think that they ever will?"

The Authority has said they will extend the public comment period by 15 days to allow individuals to voice their concerns and offer suggestions for the project. Comments will be accepted from July 20th until September 20th online, or through one of the four informational workshops they will offer in August.