Instead of being used for street maintenance, $170,000 in Measure C flexible funds will be transferred to Precision Civil Engineering. The city council unanimously approved the money to pay for continued consulting on the high speed rail project.
Assistant city manager Bruce Rudd explained, "While it could be argued you could use these dollars for fixing pot holes or and slurry seals, the impact of high speed rail on this community will go on. It will leave a permanent mark."
City engineer Scott Mozier said two-thirds of the money will be offset through a federal gas tax.
The council also voted 6-0 to approve $900,000 in federal funds for the design phase of a high speed rail station project. The proposed station would be located in the downtown Fresno area.
City councilmember Oliver Baines said, "Saying no to this I really don't believe is an option for us. It would be, to me, irresponsible for us as a city council, in the middle of what's probably going to happen to be unprepared."
Councilmember Lee Brand voted for Thursday's actions but is not convinced the project will succeed. Brand said, "I do have serious reservations but I think I would be irresponsible as a local official to vote no on something that, whether I think in the broader context it will work or not, but certainly we have to be part of the project."
Environmental impact reports on the high speed rail project stood stacked up before the council. City officials have yet to review the environmental impact reports.
The deadline for public comment was September 28th, however, the deadline was extended to October 13th.