Group: Calif. High Speed Rail Could be ‘Train Wreck’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A proposed high-speed rail system through California’s Central Valley could cause an agricultural, environmental and financial “train wreck” if it promotes more urban sprawl, according to American Farmland Trust.

At a public hearing held in March, Edward Thompson, Jr., the organization’s state director, said the environmental report underestimates the impact the rail project will have on agriculture.

Thompson called on local and state officials to step up their efforts to manage the state’s growth by getting better control on development and by protecting the “best farmland on the planet. … This doesn’t mean we need more laws governing development because laws already on the books are not being enforced and existing conservation programs are not being implemented.”

Citing a law passed by the state legislature last session, AB 857, which he called a “blueprint for smarter growth,” Thompson said “the high-speed rail system could harness tremendous civic enthusiasm to build diverse, efficient, livable communities in the midst of a living landscape of sustainable agriculture and environmental splendor.”

— U.S. Newswire