New preferred HSR route targets homeless center, city yard

New preferred HSR route targets homeless center, city yard »Play Video
This illustration shows a proposed bullet train running through the Central Valley, near Wasco. (California High-Speed Rail Authority photo)
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — High-speed rail board officials have released the route they are calling the preferred alternative through Bakersfield.

The route took into consideration previous objections and made changes from earlier alternatives.

The new preferred alternative notably avoids several churches, the Bakersfield High School campus and relocates a proposed rail station near Truxtun and Union avenues. But, venues such as the Bakersfield Homeless Center weren't so lucky.

“It's going to run right through our facility,” Homeless Center CEO Luis Gill said.

Gill explained how wiping out the majority of the buildings at the homeless center would leave it unable to serve a fragile part of the population.

“Last night, we had 106 individuals that needed a place to sleep,” Gill said. The lack of certainty for the site leaves the center unable to make decisions for the future.

Bakersfield city officials expressed concerns about the Mill Creek housing development and the maintenance yard targeted in the new preferred route.

“Our ability to provide those essential services would be threatened," said Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy. “I don't know how you keep your squad cars going without a mechanic to take care of the carburetor and the other problems that appear."

Tandy said the city is currently against all proposed options.

“They don't have enough money to build south of Shafter,” Tandy said. “Over the next five years(they could) work with the community and various interests to try to come up with an alignment that may be more acceptable.”