Business owners, local leaders react to scale back on High-Speed Rail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- What was considered the largest public infrastructure project in the country is being scaled back.

'The current project as planned will cost too much and respectfully take too long. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency," said Governor Gavin Newsom.

In his first state of the state, Governor Newsom admitted there isn't enough money for the High-Speed Rail to connect the Bay to Los Angeles, the next viable option: Merced to Bakersfield.

"The people of the central valley endure the worst pollution in America and have some of the longest commutes in this state, and they suffer too much neglect from policymakers, respectfully, here in Sacramento they deserve better," the governor said.

Governor Newsom's office says he is fully committed to building a High-Speed Rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Fresno mayor Lee Brand released a statement saying he supports the project as long as the budget pencils out. He adds, "I'm hopeful that the added accountability will help Fresno make the transformational connection with the Bay Area that this project has promised."

The High-Speed Rail Authority has successfully relocated more than 170 Fresno businesses so far, and 90-percent have stayed in the city.

But not all were able to survive construction projects detouring potential customers

Yukon's Tavern and Grill owner Rafael Gomez says when he first opened his doors three years ago, he ran the go-to lunch spot in west-central Fresno.

That changed with the Clinton Overpass Project.

The overpass was demolished last spring and rebuilt for High Speed Rail.

Road closures and detours meant his customers were going elsewhere, forcing him to lay off employees.

"I basically ran it by myself from bartending to cooking to everything. because there was no reason for people to come this way," he said.

Gomez says he's bouncing back but hopes this project wasn't a waste.

In the near future, the Governor is planning to meet with several mayors from the Central Valley to discuss economic development.
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