SAN FERNANDO (AP) — Opposition continues to mount in both wealthy and working-class communities against the California bullet train.
Protesters in the city of San Fernando took over an open house held by the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Thursday evening and demanded answers about the project’s impact on their community, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Mayor Pro Tem Sylvia Ballin told state officials the city would lose $1.3 million a year if the plan goes forward. Residents in the small, working-class city also worry that high sound walls expected to be constructed around the rails will become an eyesore.
“The bottom line is you are not really welcome,” Ballin said.
The bullet train approved by voters with a $9-billion bond in 2008 is expected to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes. Construction is slated to start this summer, more than two years behind the initial start date.
San Fernando is one of several communities protesting the project.
Wealthy communities in the Bay Area and farmers in the Central Valley have also raised concerns. Residents in the Silicon Valley forced the planned train to use existing commuter rail tracks into San Francisco at lower speeds. Farmers have filed lawsuits and refused to sell their fields at prices they considered too low.
In San Fernando, elected officials joined residents in confronting state officials. They set up their own public address system in the auditorium and expressed their grievances.
Opposition has also grown in several other Los Angeles-area neighborhoods that intersect with the planned route. Hundreds of protesters are expected to show up at a Rail Authority board meeting scheduled for June 9th in downtown Los Angeles.
The Rail Authority remains committed to working with communities to find the most favorable route, spokesman Robert Magnuson said. Three alternative routes are currently under consideration.
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