New high-speed rail route not welcome in Kings County

April 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Opposition in Kings County already prompted the California High-Speed Rail Authority to move its proposed route from East of Hanford to West of Hanford. The latest proposal stays to the west but bypasses some contested areas.

The new route would take up five hundred fewer acres of land and impact about 150 fewer homes and businesses. But to Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon it doesn't change a thing.

"No, it doesn't change our aspect as far as high-speed rail goes in Kings County," said Verboon. "Because all the people in Kings County are equal to us, so west side, east side it affects people the same."

The Rail Authority will bring the latest route plan before its board of directors at a public meeting in Fresno on Thursday. Spokesperson Lisa Alley says the final route between Fresno and Bakersfield through Kings County is still a work in progress.

Alley said, "Input continues to be invaluable and as such we want to continue to work with people in the region to see and insure this is the best alternative."

But the only alternative Verboon is interested in puts the line 30 miles further West.

Verboon explained, "Well we would love them to go through Kings County by Kettleman and I-5 that would be perfect for us."

That alignment is not on the table. Verboon says the California High-Speed Rail Authority is still ignoring the will of the people of Kings County.

"A lot of sentiment here in Kings County," said Verboon. "The people are very passionate about their ground, very passionate about their lifestyles and they don't want it disrupted."

Verboon and other Kings County officials plan to attend the California High-Speed Rail Authority meeting in Fresno. Kings County still has a lawsuit filed against the authority and the board of directors is scheduled to discuss it in closed session.

On Tuesday Madera County just dropped its lawsuit over high-speed rail. But Kings County expects to be in court next month.


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