Fresno hoping to see more economic improvement as more High-Speed Rail projects start

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More than two years since demolition started of the High-Speed Rail project, Action News wanted to check to see if the city has seen a difference. (KFSN)

When the High-Speed Rail was first announced in Fresno leaders promised job creation and economic revitalization. Now, more than two years since demolition started, Action News wanted to check to see if the city has seen a difference.

You can spot cranes and bulldozers throughout downtown Fresno. City leaders said High-Speed Rail construction is quickly picking up steam and soon so will the economy.

During peak hours at Triangle Drive-In orders pour in. "Lunch is like-- hectic here. It's busy,' said Zahi Saleh, owner.

Saleh said business has always been good, but with the opening of more High-Speed Rail construction sites it could get even better.

"I have these guys sweep the floor four of five times a day. We get a lot of traffic, a lot of construction workers," said Saleh.

There are currently five active High-Speed Rail construction sites in the Valley employing more than 600 workers-- most of them local. Those numbers are expected to sharply rise as officials start the next phase of the project in April.

"I'm hearing about different companies that have to employ more people-- expand their services. They are buying more equipment just to meet the needs of this program," said Toni Tinoco, High-Speed Rail Authority.

High-Speed Rail officials said those jobs will trickle down to others.

"Especially as we start going south. Even some of the downtown areas where we start having some workers being there, different restaurants and shops are going to benefit as well," said Tinoco.

Construction in Fresno is expected to extend for several more years, but the city's chamber of commerce is looking ahead. A decision on the location of a heavy maintenance facility is expected to come down in the next few months. That facility would bring about 1,500 permanent jobs.

"These trains are always going to need maintenance. Anything from windows that need to be replaced, to seats, to engines," said Nathan Ahle, President, Fresno Chamber of Commerce.

Leaders said to those who want to see a bigger economic revitalization. "As we continue to see more construction ramp up we'll see a lot more of that," said Ahle.

Phase two of the project extends from Fresno down south about 60 miles.

No word yet as to how many job that will create but it should be more than phase one.
Related Topics:
societyeconomyjobshigh speed railfresnoFresno - Downtown
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