Sacramento, California - To say that the Bakersfield City Council is not pleased by the proposal for a temporary, interim termination of the Initial Operating Segment just short of their city would be putting it mildly:
Admitting the California High Speed Rail Authority would likely pay it no attention, the City Council still voted 7-0 to approve comments opposing the Poplar Avenue interim station northwest of Shafter and to authorize City Manager Alan Tandy to make the agency aware of Bakersfield’s displeasure.
City officials believe Bakersfield needs to go on record opposing the interim station that is mentioned in the CHSRA’s draft 2016 business plan, Community Development Director Doug McIsaac told the council.
McIsaac said Bakersfield believes the CHSRA’s plans to build from San Jose to north of Shafter would delay service to Bakersfield and the corresponding economic boost from 2025 to 2029, as well as eliminating a proposed heavy maintenance facility site in Shafter from consideration….
The interim Poplar Avenue station, McIsaac said, would be a “wasted investment,” and fail to comply with state Proposition 1A because it would neither check urban sprawl nor connect to other forms of transit.
It is “directly contrary to a number of planning and environmental objectives that the high-speed rail agency is trying to achieve,” including greenhouse gas reduction, McIsaac added, summarizing the city’s comment letter.
I can certainly understand their frustration. The IOS should terminate in downtown Bakersfield.
Of course, that’s the goal of the California High Speed Rail Authority. They’re actively seeking new funding to get all the way to Bakersfield with the IOS. Their 2016 Business Plan was necessarily conservative and so they had to propose the temporary stop near Shafter in order to stay within the funding they currently have available.
So while Bakersfield is right to be unhappy and send in this comment letter, they also ought to help step up and find the funding needed to get the IOS trains all the way to downtown Bakersfield.