CA: Farmers protest high-speed rail

July 5, 2012
State legislators are expected to vote on whether to release state bond money that voters approved in 2008 to start building the high-speed railroad from Madera to the outskirts of Bakersfield.

California is poised to begin building the nation's first high-speed rail system early next year, eventually sending trains zipping from San Francisco to Los Angeles as fast as 220 mph.

But first the High-Speed Rail Authority must get the Legislature, and then the Central Valley, on board.

Should high-speed rail officials persuade lawmakers to fund construction of the first 130-mile stretch, they'll need to quickly rebuild support in the San Joaquin Valley, where poor community relations have soured already skeptical farmers and local leaders, overshadowed hopes of economic development, and fueled opposition that could slow or stop arrival of the fast trains.

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