According to an article in The Packer, members of the California Farm Bureau in Madera and Merced Counties are standing firm against the high-speed rail project, which is now moving towards acquisition of land. Supporters, such as Yonah Freemark of thetransportpolitic.com, see the project as “a courageous step,” noting that “Tracks between Madera and Bakersfield could be ready for use by 2017, the first step towards what could be an eventual 2h40 journey time for trains traveling from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles.”
Anja Raudabaugh, Director of the Madera County Farm Bureau, is not so optimistic:
“We will not be willing sellers on this alignment,” she said. “Prime farmland in California has tripled in value from $8,000 an acre in 2005 to a minimum of $22,000 now. The rail authority is not responsive to that. Farmers will fight tooth and nail for a fair price, and preferably not sell.”
Nearly half her membership of 1,110 growers fear going out of business as a result of the project, Raudabaugh said, and about 70 dairies are at risk.
“Because there can’t be crossings, it will close access to several feed yards and packing operations, separate pomegranates from their juicing facilities and almonds from their hulling facilities,” she said. Read the rest of the article HERE.
It will be some years before this project reaches our area (the “Pacheco” section, passing through Gilroy to San Jose) but certainly, growers and landowners here are watching to see how it impacts other areas of California.