Kings County wants to put the brakes on high-speed rail

KINGS COUNTY, Calif.

The proposed route for the high-speed rail is expected to cut across several farming groves in the Central Valley, which has upset many land owners. Karen Stout's 80 acre family ranch in Kings County is in direct path of the planned route. "It's a family owned operation. It will separate myself from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and it's going to take out three houses right next to where we are," said Karen Stout.

The projected high-speed rail will cut through the family's walnut groves, taking down several of Stout's homes, including her mother's. "We aren't opposed to the train, we're just opposed to the way that they're making it go through people's properties. And it's not on the major transportation corridor.

Stout joined dozens of Kings County residents on Tuesday morning as county officials expressed their disappointment and opposition to the transportation project with an estimated price tag hitting close to 100 billion dollars. However, the governor has said it will not be that expensive.

"This proposed alignment as it ran through Kings County was ill-conceived, free of common sense and the most destructive to our rural community," said Diana Peck with Kings County Farm Bureau. County Supervisors went ahead and sent a second letter in less than six months addressed to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to intervene and address some of their concerns.

"We don't even belong in the state of California anymore because we're not getting any response from anybody. They're listening to Southern California, to Northern California and we get no respect here in the Central Valley," said County Supervisor Doug Verboon.

County officials estimate an annual loss of 100 million dollars if the high-speed rail plan goes through, cutting through farm land. "I'd like to see the High-Speed Rail Authority on record answering our questions on what they're going to do to help our people. How are they going to compensate our businesses when they take their businesses," asked Verboon.

Officials with the California High Speed Rail Authority told Action News they've been working with local stakeholders and are listening to all of their concerns. The board will vote on a final business plan in the coming months where they'll decide on a final route.

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