Fresno supes maintain support for High Speed Rail

FRESNO, Calif.

"My concern in bringing this forward and my reason for bringing this forward are the pieces that still have some work to be done on them."

Supervisor Judy Case's biggest concern was how local businesses would be compensated if they had to relocate. But High Speed Rail Board Member Tom Richards of Fresno assured her businesses would get more than just the value of their property, and assured the Supervisors the latest plans for the project are addressing most concerns.

"I frankly believe the project is better today, it's an investment in California because of the communication we do have with the public," Richards said.

Many in the public told the supervisors they aren't convinced.

"Bloated bureaucracy, drain on the taxpayer, and another boondoggle shoved down the people's throat," one critic told the board.

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei farmers league said the farm industry is still worried.

"My concern is the agricultural industry, the loss of jobs," Cunha said.

The reason for all the discussion was a letter the Board of Supervisors is sending to the High Speed Rail Authority. The first draft, written weeks ago was harshly worded with accusations the project would "decimate" the landscape.

Today the board was busy making revisions. Despite some concerns, the final letter indicated Fresno County's elected officials remain in support of High Speed Rail.

The supervisors' position is symbolic, but significant since boards of supervisors in Madera, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties have come out in opposition to the project.

But with Fresno the center and starting point of the multibillion dollar project, the City of Fresno, the Chamber of Commerce and other local business interests want the county supervisors to maintain their support.

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