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City sends letter of opposition to HSRA

Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 02:34:29-04

The City of Bakersfield is getting ready to send a letter of opposition to the High-Speed Rail Authority.

This after officials decided to place a station near Shafer - delaying the station in downtown Bakersfield.

"High-Speed Rail is a fraud," said Vice Mayor, Harold Hanson.

The City Council expressing strong opinions Wednesday night when talking about the HSRA.

"I think we need to get on board and really raise up against this thing," said Hanson.

The city is against a new draft to the 2016 business plan the HSRA released in February.

It show changes to the path the train would run. Bakersfield is scheduled to have a permanent station close to downtown. But under the new plan, that facility is delayed.

Instead, there would be a temporary stop just northwest of Shafter. The HSRA said this change is due to cost and time.

"I'm telling you, these High-Speed Rail people, they've been lining their pockets with millions of dollars in salaries in the name of doing whatever they do," said Hanson.

"High-Speed Rail all along said they wanted a heavy-maintenance facility more or less in the center of the line. But if you shift that center, and it now ends at poplar, that puts a heavy-maintenance facility probably in Fresno," said Ward 7 councilmember, Chris Parlier.

In a letter directed to the HSRA, the city says the temporary station, slated to be placed on Poplar Avenue, would be a wasted investment.

"Completely undeveloped, is almost entirely agricultural land and really has no urbanization or urban infrastructure anywhere really close to it," said Doug McIsaac, Community Development Director.

They said a Shafter station would delay service to Bakersfield for at least four years, it wouldn't have a connection to another transit and it would counter the plan's objective to minimize urbanization.

All of council were in favor of the letter, but said their efforts will be falling on deaf ears.

"They ignore what the voters wanted, they've ignored what the polls have shown, and they are now going to ignore this also," said Terry Maxwell, Ward 2 councilmember.

The letter also outlines other cost-effective options for building the permanent High-Speed station in Bakersfield.

Click here to view it.

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