SACRAMENTO — Central Valley legislators are questioning how the California High Speed Rail Authority is taking over privately owned land, and has asked the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to review the acquisition process.
On Jan. 14, the California State Public Works Board authorized the Authority to begin acquiring 356 parcels of prime farmland in Fresno and Madera Counties. The acquisition of right-of-way is a critical prerequisite before the Authority initiates the largest state public works project in the nation’s history.
Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-Madera) and Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) announced Tuesday they have submitted a request asking whether the Authority has specific policies and procedures in place that would allow landowners to appeal appraisal values prior to the initiation of eminent domain proceedings and what safeguards are in place to ensure fair and reasonable offers.
Bigelow and Patterson noted that effective oversight is needed to protect private property owners and to ensure that no landowners are unnecessarily displaced...