CHSRA Cleared to Begin Property Acquisition
Before you can start construction on high speed rail, you’ve got to own the right of way. And today the California High Speed Rail Authority was given approval to begin buying it:
The state’s Public Works Board on Monday cleared the way for the California High-Speed Rail Authority to begin negotiating for property in Fresno and Madera counties needed for high-speed train tracks.
In a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, the board — which includes the directors of the state’s Finance, General Services and Transportation departments — voted 3-0 to approve the formal selection of 356 separate parcels by the rail authority….
Rail authority officials can now start making offers to owners whose property is targeted for the first stage of construction. Those parcels are either in the path of the tracks themselves or will be affected by related construction, including overpasses to carry city streets and county roads over the tracks or the relocation of Highway 99 between Ashlan and Clinton avenues.
It’s one of those entirely unexciting bureaucratic approvals that is also an important step forward in getting high speed rail ready for construction. The hard part is still to come, of course, when it comes to land acquisition. Not all property owners are going to be willing sellers, although this first segment from Madera to Fresno is going to be easier on that front than it will be further south near Hanford. But the CHSRA now has the authority it needs to begin buying land and, if needed, start eminent domain proceedings.
It’s been over 30 years since high speed rail in California was a gleam in the eyes of Adriana Gianturco, Jerry Brown, and a few early adopters in the Legislature and around the state. After decades of starts and stops, after gas prices and carbon emissions have soared, California high speed rail is on a path to finally begin construction here in 2013.