California High-Speed Rail Authority discusses potential changes

FRESNO, Calif.

Chairman Dan Richard explained, "We've got some very important decisions to make both in the area around Chowchilla where the train would both go north and shift to the west and then as we go from Fresno down to Bakersfield there are a number of different choices as to how we would go through Kings County."

But, the meeting brought out the critics, like Mary Jane Fagundes of Kingsburg. "You the high-speed rail board are like snakes slithering on the ground."

Another Critic, Karen Stout of Kings County told the board, "The proposed high speed rail system you are planning is not what the citizens of California voted for in 2008."

A lawsuit alleging the current plans aren't what voters approved will be heard in court at the end of May. But the authority has done away with many other legal challenges, most recently from Madera County.

Newly appointed Madera County Supervisor Manuel l Nevarrez told the rail board, "I am here to express my joy with the recent board decision to get out of the lawsuit our county was a party to against the high speed rail."

Dan Richard told Action News he welcomed the support and the criticism offered at the meeting. "This thing is going to have impacts, block by block, farm by farm business by business and so we want to have the greatest understanding we can about the routes the options the choices and then we can do whatever we can do to get the best result with the least impact."

The board will not vote on the routes around Chowchilla and through Kings and Kern Counties until next month. At the Fresno meeting they did approve spending an additional $50 million on environmental and engineering studies for the alternate routes.

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