LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The board behind California’s high-speed rail project could face fierce opposition Tuesday from community leaders, and Northern and Southern California residents who expect to be affected by construction of the bullet train.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is set to meet in downtown Los Angeles for the first time since 2013, and several groups opposing the project — with hundreds of potential speakers — are expected to show up for a rare opportunity to voice their complaints in one place.
The $68 billion train is expected to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes. One of the project’s most ardent supporters, Governor Jerry Brown was on hand at the groundbreaking ceremony in Fresno, last January. Actual construction is slated to start this summer, more than two years behind the initial start date.
Tuesday’s gathering comes in the wake of a heated local meeting last month in the San Fernando Valley, which is home to some of the train’s most devoted opponents. In the city of San Fernando, elected officials joined residents in confronting state officials, going so far as to set up their own public address system in the auditorium to express their grievances.
San Fernando Mayor Pro Tem Sylvia Ballin told state officials last month that the city would lose $1.3 million a year if the plan goes forward.
“The bottom line is you are not really welcome,” Ballin said.
Opposition also has grown in several other Los Angeles-area neighborhoods that intersect with the planned route.
Wealthy communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and farmers in the Central Valley have also raised concerns about the project.
Residents in the Silicon Valley forced the planned train to use existing commuter rail tracks into San Francisco at lower speeds. Farmers have sued and refused to sell their fields at prices they considered too low.
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