TEHACHAPI, Calif. — (UPDATE 4/6): The High-Speed Rail Authority responded to concerns raised in the City of Tehachapi. The authority said it is working to develop and deliver the program through effective engagements with local communities, "a process that involves nourishing long-term relationships with residents, stakeholders, and policymakers."
Tehachapi is the latest Kern County City to express concerns with high-speed rail construction and the aftermath.
Two neighborhoods and even a local hospital are in close proximity to where the railroad tracks will lay between the Bakersfield to Palmdale stops, within the Tehachapi city limits, and with no stop in the city, a city engineer is saying that it’s no value and all impact.
Covering Kern County
High-Speed Rail responds to concerns in Tehachapi
“In many ways, this railway will be like the Panama Canal and the Great Wall of China all in our little community."
That’s what the city of Tehachapi's Development Services Director, Jay Schlosser equates the building of the California high-speed rail to, once the tracks are laid down in the Tehachapi city limits.
He says, 80 feet underground, between these two valleys, conjoining with above-ground tracks close to the Denison overcrossing over highway 58, will lead to "blight" in terms of aesthetics and sound.
“Putting a bullet train, once it exists and swings by your house at 90 decibels, which by the way is close to the level of sound that damages hearing...but they’ll get you some new windows and doors.”
Schlosser says that’s an impact on more than 80 homes and the patients and medical professionals of a $100 million hospital built directly from the taxpayer’s pocket.
The sound wall the HSR has proposed will only mitigate the problem, he says for half of those homes.
“Make no mistake, we’re all for infrastructure but we have to maintain and build," said Greg Garrett, city manager, Tehachapi.
Tehachapi’s City Manager, Greg Garrett says they’ve been closely talking to HSR for six years.
Schlosser adding they’ve asked for sound walls, a visitor center or decorative elements, or slightly changing the alignment of the rail he says, he also addressed a few but did not put anything in writing. Their most recent meeting with them on zoom was two weeks ago.
Schlosser points to similar concerns from Wasco, which 23ABC previously reported, a devaluing of the neighborhood, and in turn an increase of crime.
“Once again, the high-speed rail fail has proven to be a project that is over budget, over deadline, and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars," said Senator Shannon Grove.
April 12 is the last day for public comment, which city officials encourage if residents have any concerns.