High Speed Rail

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

It’s been nearly six months since officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for California’s high speed rail project in Fresno. But as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports construction crews Tuesday started building the project’s first bridge in Madera.

After months of underground work, it’s the obvious sign of construction on California’s $68-billion bullet train project.  Over the next eight to 10 months crews will assemble the viaduct over the Fresno River and Highway 145.

 On this Earth Day, California’s High-Speed Rail Authority is demonstrating steps it is taking to minimize environmental damage from the construction of the rail.

Rail construction workers will spray a biodegradable solution made of processed wood chips that holds down dust pollution. 

Elizabeth Jonnason with the High-Speed Rail Authority says the spray helps them meet California’s environmental standards.

“To control the ground, and make sure whatever is in the ground does not end up in our air or in our water,” Jonnason said.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On this week's program Reporter Ezra David Romero visits the Central Valley community of Fairmead where dozens of private wells have gone dry.

Also on Valley Edition Reporter Jeffrey Hess looks at a program helping people find jobs along the future high speed rail corridor.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we discuss drought, almonds and much more. The program begins with a piece by KVPR Reporter Jeffrey Hess on how the implementation of high speed rail in California is affecting businesses and homeowners in Central California. 

Some home and land owners in the pathway of California’s high-speed rail project are claiming the rail authority is treating them with disrespect and presenting low-ball offers in an attempt to for the project through. Those are claims the head of the rail authority strongly denies.

  A couple hundred feet behind the Kings County home of Daryl and Shawna archer are freight train.

“These are refrigerated cheese cars. They come twice a day. Once empty, once full going back,”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Now that dust has settled from last week’s symbolic groundbreaking for high speed rail in Downtown Fresno – a groundbreaking that didn’t actually include any ground being broken – people across the nation are taking a fresh look at the bullet train. 

One of the most interesting perspectives came from our Josh Stephens, a journalist and commentator for the California Planning and Development Report, an online publication that focuses on the development industry and urban planning.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

More than a thousand supporters of California High Speed Rail filled the barren lot of what is supposed to become a multistory train station in Fresno today for a symbolic groundbreaking.

Nearly two years after construction was supposed to start, and more than six years after voters approved a bond to help fund California high speed rail, state and local leaders met in Fresno’s historic Chinatown today to mark the start of the project’s construction.

On Christmas Eve, it felt like the park was all ours.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the November 2014 elections. Valley Edition host Joe Moore speaks with Capitol Public Radio Bureau Chief Ben Adler and Fresno State Political Science Professor  Jeffrey Cummins about their election predictions. Also on the program Fresno Bee Reporter Tim Sheehan talks about the next chapter of California high speed rail with Moore.

California Supreme Court Declines To Hear High Speed Rail Case

Oct 15, 2014
High Speed Rail Authority

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of two lawsuits that challenged the way California plans to pay for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the decision paves the way for the project to move forward.

State Wins Another High Speed Rail Court Battle

Sep 2, 2014
California High Speed Rail Authority

California may be one step away from selling bonds for its High Speed Rail project.

A California Court of Appeals has refused to grant a rehearing in a case challenging the use of bond funding to build High Speed Rail. The decision is a win for the state which is counting on selling bonds to help fund the project.

California High Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors reversed course on Tuesday morning, voting to officially oppose California's controversial high speed rail project. 

The 3-2 vote comes just days after contractors working for the rail authority began demolishing buildings in Fresno to make way for the train. 

Since 2007, the county has officially held a position in support of the project, though in 2012 the supervisors sent a letter to the authority that was critical of the effort. 

California High Speed Rail Authority

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:

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at innovation at Castle Air Force Base in Merced County, learn about the medical backlog in Fresno County, talk with writer James Fallows and Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian about California High Speed Rail, and speak with NPR's

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The jaws of a giant excavator tore through what was the old Annie’s Hollywood Inn bar in West Fresno Monday morning.

“The excavator right there is going to hit the back of that building and because it’s so small it’s not going to take long; probably if we blink it’ll be down in five minutes,” says Jill Kroeker with J. Kroeker Inc.

The demolition of the 66-year-old bar is the first of many to be reduced to smithereens as part of construction along the first 29 mile segment of California High Speed Rail.

Commentary: Just How Much Does California Want To Do For The San Joaquin Valley?

Jul 8, 2014

It’s not clear if Governor Jerry Brown and his challenger Neel Kashkari will debate each other this fall. But if they do, there should be no doubt about the proper location for any and all debates: the San Joaquin Valley.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition reporter Ezra David Romero reports on how one Fresno man's life has been altered because of his recent hire along the first stage of construction of the Fresno-Madera corridor of California's future high speed rail line. Also on the program, host Joe Moore interviews Bill Cooper who kayaked from Bakersfield to the San Francisco Bay in 1983.

http://katchenvironmental.com/

Daniel Ruiz moved with his family from Seattle to Fresno to take care of his parents about a year ago. But found it really hard to find a job.

“I pretty much was on the verge of going homeless.," Ruiz says. "I’m a family man with three children."

He looked up and down the Valley for any descent paying job, but found none.   

“The job situation wasn’t looking good,”  Ruiz says.  "I started doubting myself. The jobs that were hiring were very part time at very low pay and I was starting to worry. I didn’t know where I was going to go week to week.”

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

One of Fresno's oldest restaurants could soon have a new home, in what is now a parking lot at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center.

On Thursday the Fresno City Council is set to vote on a proposal to sell a portion of the city-owned lot at the corner of Ventura and O streets to Gary Lanfranco, owner of the Cosmopolitan Bar & Grill. 

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