June 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Several communities fighting to remove bullet train route

Bullet train viewSeveral communities are fighting California’s long- planned bullet train route into the heart of the San Fernando Valley, saying it would bring irreparable harm, it was reported today.

The coordinated protest by residents and elected officials from suburban Santa Clarita — as well as blue-collar San Fernando, Pacoima and other communities — present a potent political challenge as state officials push to speed up construction of the $68 billion system in densely populated Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Local elected officials and homeowners groups are demanding the state abandon a proposed route that would roughly parallel California 14 through the mountains between Palmdale and San Fernando. That alignment would include a considerable amount of above-ground track and a series of tunnels, according to the newspaper. The coalition of communities is demanding that only routes that are predominantly underground should be considered.

The growing resistance is coming in part from urban, working-class neighborhoods that are portraying the surface route as an environmental injustice. Those communities are longtime supporters of state Democrats who championed the project.

San Fernando Mayor Joel Fajardo said the surface route would reverse the progress his small working-class community has made in recent years, splitting the city in half with a 20-foot-high sound wall, The Times reported. The route would cut through the city’s downtown, he added, displacing businesses that provide 7 percent of the city’s tax revenue. And the surface route could require demolition of the city’s police headquarters, he said.

“Our calls for social, economic and environmental justice have been ignored,” Fajardo told The Times. “The city could go into bankruptcy.”

Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the rail authority, said the agency has been engaged with all the communities.

“We will continue to have open dialogue with them,” she told The Times. “This is the hard part of the process.”

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