Work begins on Calif. bullet train, locals angry
FRESNO, California — Trucks loaded with tomatoes, milk and almonds clog the two main highways that bisect California’s farm heartland, carrying goods to millions along the Pacific Coast and beyond. This dusty stretch of land is the starting point for one of the most expensive U.S. public infrastructure projects: a $68 billion high-speed rail system that would span the state, linking the people of America’s salad bowl to more jobs, opportunity and buyers.
Five years ago, California voters overwhelmingly approved the idea of bringing a bullet train to themost populous U.S. state. It would be America’s first high-speed rail system, sold to the public as a way to improve access to good-paying jobs, cut pollution from smog-filled roadways and reduce time wasted sitting in traffic while providing an alternative to high fuel prices.
Now, engineering work has finally begun on the first 30-mile segment of track here in Fresno, a city of a half-million people with soaring unemployment and a withering downtown core littered with abandoned factories and shuttered stores.