collaboration, regional planning and policies for more efficient patterns of
-- Enlisting businesses, community and government leaders across the Valley to craft a regional vision and policies for economic growth and environmental protection around high-speed rail.
-- Supporting local and regional planning efforts using sophisticated computer modeling programs and other "best practices."
-- Better explaining the long-term costs of traditional automobile-oriented, spread-out development relative to city budgets, and impacts on agricultural and air quality.
-- Exploring financing programs to spur private development in mixed-use, transit-oriented development with connections to transportation hubs, such as high-speed train stations.
At Tuesday's panel discussion, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said that cities along the rail line must work closely with the state rail authority to ensure the best outcomes for residents and businesses that will be affected by the train route.
"If they are going to be impacted, we want to make sure they get every penny and every bit of respect and courtesy," she said. "At all times, the city is looking for a win-win" for both the property owner and the rail project.
Kings County group not keen on collaboration
For representatives of the Citizens for High-Speed Rail Accountability, a Kings County coalition of property owners who oppose the rail project, Swearengin's call for collaboration with local governments struck a sour note. The group coalesced after a 2011 incident in which Curt Pringle, then the authority's board chairman, publicly dressed down Kings County Farm Bureau director Diana Peck at a rail agency meeting in Sacramento. Peck was taking the authority to task for failing to coordinate its efforts with the Kings County Board of Supervisors.
Alan Scott, a CCHSRA co-founder, said Kings County residents remain distrustful and dissatisfied with the rail authority's efforts to work constructively to address the county's concerns.
Frank Oliveira, another co-founder, added that the UC report's call for a regional effort to explain and promote the benefits of high-speed rail was less a blueprint for managing challenges and "more of a solicitation for reorganizing the way we live in the Valley." Oliveira chaffed at the notion of additional layers of regional planning to mandate denser urban development in cities.
The report, however, could end up being a largely academic exercise, depending on the ultimate outcome of a judge's ruling Friday in Sacramento that the rail authority's 2011 business plan violated key provisions of Proposition 1A, a 2008 high-speed rail bond measure.
The judge stopped short of blocking work on the project, but has asked attorneys for Kings County and two of its residents, who brought the lawsuit nearly two years ago, and for the rail authority to submit written arguments over potential remedies to the violations.
Elkind, whose report was written before Kenny issued the ruling, said he's read the court document and doubts that Kenny would order work stopped. "I'm not sure the judge is ready to go there," Elkind said.
The reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (559) 441-6319 or on Twitter @tsheehan
(c)2013 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)
Visit The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.) at www.fresnobee.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- Scotch Whisky Sales Raise Distillers' Spirits
- Budget Deal Will Cut 220,000 Californians Out of Jobless Benefits
- Holiday Shopping Off to a Slow Start This Season
- Fake Deaf Interpreter Was Hallucinating, Has Schizophrenia
- Tea Party Glum in Face of Bipartisan Budget Deal
- Futures Fall, Holiday Spending and Unemployment Up
- Health Coverage Disparities Emerge Among States