Construction of California’s bullet train is more than two years behind the scheduled start date. The initial 29-mile section is slated for the Central Valley. The high-speed-rail authority thought it would be easier to purchase the required 525 parcels in rural areas, but California’s Central Valley farmers are saying “no sale” in large numbers. Only 123 properties have been secured. Lengthy court battles could delay the project even more.
Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League, an association of small family farms, contends the project will destroy 120,000 acres of land from Los Banos to Bakersfield, not the 5,000 claimed by the state.
“High-speed rail is at the bottom of what we want to keep agriculture healthy,” said Cunha, who cultivates citrus on 55 acres. “It has no merit at all for our industry.”