The City of Wasco has been working with the California High Speed Rail Authority for 4 years, but the two cannot seem to come to an agreement to move forward. Tonight 23ABC’s Kylie Walker attended a virtual city council meeting, where the city made some major decisions about the project moving forward.
Tuesday night council members with the City of Wasco adopted a resolution to rescind its approval of the conceptual plan to permanently close 6th street, as originally requested by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
23ABC spoke with Wasco City Manager, Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez following a city council meeting where they addressed the planning process of the high-speed rail project. Hernandez says their initial agreement with the high-speed rail authority back in 2016, planned for 6th street to remain open. A year later, and Hernandez says the authority came back asking council to consider amending the plan to close 6th street.
" Their justification at the time was there were some technical challenges as well as there would be a considerable cost savings. It would be extremely expensive for them to construct a vehicle and pedestrian underpass."
Hernandez says they gave their initial approval to close 6th street, but they needed a written agreement to be executed. And Hernandez says it has now been three years and no agreement has been presented. "Recognizing that there was no agreement, city council adopted a resolution rescinding their April 2017 decision to consider the conceptual plan with 6th street being closed. "
The city is now requiring that the authority and the contractor reconsider this and incorporate it into their plan, or present an agreement for the city to consider.
Hernandez says Mayor Tilo Cortez addressed the board of directors for the high-speed rail authority last month. Saying the chairman of the board said the authority would be reaching out. "We’re going on nearly a month and we’ve had no contact from them to address the issues we have forwarded on to them."
You can find more information about the history of the high-speed rail project and a link to the letters the city sent to the authority here: https://www.cityofwasco.org/305/High-Speed-Rail-Impact-on-Wasco