High Speed Rail benefits questioned
March 12, 2020 | View PDF
The High Speed Rail project is a complicated project that is being thrust upon Wasco with little to no benefits, City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez said in an interview this week.
It's not going to stop in Wasco, and there isn't going to be a maintenance facility built in Wasco, so no income will be generated from the HSR specifically, he pointed out.
When former Gov. Jerry Brown was in office from 1975-1983, he signed legislation into law for the study of a high speed rail system in California.
Proposition 1A for the safe, reliable high-speed passenger train became the Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. The project was approved by the legislature in 2008 and was allocated funds.
One of the first disruptions occurring because of the HSR in Wasco is the closure of the Poso Avenue railroad crossing. Vehicles will be able to detour a couple of blocks north to 6th Street, but larger trucks will have to go to Highway 46.
"They don't have all their ducks in a row," City Manager Ortiz-Hernandez said. "The city is aware the HSR doesn't have all the properties and right-of-way they require for the project."
Ortiz-Hernandez also stated that there are homes and businesses on Poso Avenue between G Street and F Street that will be affected. "The rail authority will have to acquire portions of property owners' front lawns to accommodate the underpass that will be constructed at Pose Avenue between F Street and G Street."
Wasco has paid the price for its location in the path of the rail project.
"The city has been forced to give the HSR project a considerable amount of time and attention to the detriment of other crucial projects the city has been trying to move forward," Ortiz-Hernandez said. "Neglected projects include street lighting, facility improvements, ordinances, updates, improvements to utility billing process, emergency plan updates, tracking proposed legislation, recycling mandates and other priorities."
[CORRECTION: This story ran with a picture in the Tribune on March 12. The picture should have been of Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez, as it was captioned, but it was incorrect. The correct picture is posted here.]