Power grab: HSR project funds needed for Valley wanted to improve Bay Area, LA transport

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The CEO of the High-Speed Rail Authority is aware of the bridges that will have to be built to complete the Central Valley stretch of the project. Tuesday, he briefed lawmakers on the transportation committee about the current status of the 119-mile train.

The current issue is whether the money needed to complete the leg from Madera to Merced will be used or diverted to other areas.

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"It's no secret I've been a skeptic of this project and certainly the challenges that lay ahead of us and the use of taxpayer dollars that's extremely important to me," said Assemblymember Vince Fong (R) Bakersfield.

"If we do go forward with the project, or when we go through with it, how to best utilize dollars to get people out of their cars across the state of California," said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D) Glendale "And make sure that we give people a more convenient alternative to driving around the state.".

The early train operator gave a report on what the $4.3 billion could fund -- whether it's to complete the project or to spend the money on transportation elsewhere.

Henry Perea is one of the two local members of the CAHSR Board of Directors who will have a vote.

RELATED: California HSR Authority issues report on route in Valley

"I think clearly what the report has shown is that if you move the money to the Bay Area or to Los Angeles, you're not gonna have enough money to complete whatever their projects are," Perea said.

The issue is expected to be taken up either later this month or at the December meeting.

The construction of the 200 miles an hour train is on schedule- according to board members. They are still hoping to eventually get private investors to complete the rail system that was eventually designed to go from LA to the Bay.
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