The Fresno City Council met in special session to submit a last minute list of concerns about the project. It appears the initial excitement about Fresno being the starting point for the massive project is giving way to concerns over exactly how it's all going to come together
City Council President Lee Brand said, "I think there's a lot of strong political pressures that are moving the high speed rail, forgive the pun, way too fast."
The Council's concerns included the need for underpasses instead of overpasses along the train's route through the city. They want an assessment of the impact on traffic caused by street closures while the project is being built. They also want an analysis of the economic impact on businesses that will have to relocate because they are in the way of the project. The council also wants a specific plan for mitigating the impact on Roeding Park and Chaffee Zoo, which are along the proposed route.
Among the other concerns, the council wants details on how noise and vibration problems caused by the high speed trains will be addressed.
Assistant City Engineer Scott Mozier told the Council getting information from the High Speed Rail Authority has been tough. "We feel very constrained in not being able to have the information ourselves."
The High Speed Rail Authority sent Action News a letter responding to many of the city concerns but added. "The details of how and when the mitigation of the potential impacts will be worked out with the city over the next several months."
That's what has business owners like Shawn Shiralian worried. The High Speed Rail plans call for moving Golden State Boulevard at Highway 99 through his truck stop. "We just found about this thing for the past month, month and a half. This whole thing is a surprise to all of us."
The other big concern is the rail authorities plan to do much of the design work, as the project is being built. With construction set to start in Fresno in less than a year, many at City Hall, and along the route would like to know what's going to happen before the digging starts.