The State Public Works Board approved the request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Friday. That allows it to seize the land if officials cannot reach deals with the property owners.
The authority so far has approval to seize 14 properties if needed.
The board also agreed with the authority in identifying 144 parcels that are in the path of the Fresno-to-Bakersfield route. That allows the authority to begin environmental testing but not to make any purchase offers.
Rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley says the agency has made offers to 202 property owners before starting construction of the first 30-mile section, from Madera to Fresno.