NewsCovering Kern County


City of Wasco taking a stand against the High-Speed Rail project they say is hurting the city

Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 21:00:47-04

The city of Wasco is taking a stand against the High-Speed Rail project, releasing a lengthy press release on Wednesday, saying the project is hurting the city, and will eventually cost the city of millions of dollars.

One point of conflict, the city said, is the future of the former Wasco labor housing complex. While the city said the high-speed rail authority has funded the relocation of those who lived in the complex, the release claims Wasco has been left with the responsibility of demolishing the housing units.

The City Council penned a letter in May requesting the High-Speed Rail Authority mitigate the condition of the complex. However, in July, the authority rejected the city’s request, saying a signed agreement between the city and the authority relieves the state agency of the responsibility to demolish the housing units.

The demolishment is something the city said they can't afford if it doesn't receive financial help.

Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez, the Wasco city manager said, "The authority has had to relocate an entire group of residents from a neighborhood, the former farm labor housing property, relocate them to another location and the impact that has had, both in terms of relocating them and deconstructing that complex, the costs as well as a lot of the unforeseen impacts that were not addressed then on."

The city also said the Authority was wanting to discontinue the Amtrak service in the city, forcing residents to use alternate ways if they want to ride the train somewhere.

“By eliminating the City’s Amtrak station stop, and requiring Wasco residents to use bus connections to access any form of train travel, this project increases the vehicle miles traveled and overall travel times to our residents and increases greenhouse gas emissions by putting additional vehicles on the road,” the city wrote.

The city has created a webpage to document the impact of the High-Speed Rail on the city.