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The Madera Tribune

Bill would ease land use for HSR

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webmaster | 08/09/13

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California High-Speed Rail Authority could manage property it has bought for the bullet train without extra oversight under legislation now heading to the governor.

That would include property in Madera County, where construction on the rail project is scheduled to start in September.

The bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, of Long Beach, allows rail officials to negotiate property access rights and sell excess land without getting approval from the state Department of General Services.

Lowenthal says AB481 makes handling property issues faster and more cost efficient.

The Assembly passed the bill 51-22 Thursday.

The authority has started the process to buy land along a 30-mile rail corridor in the Central Valley. More than $3 billion in federal money is contingent upon the first phase being completed by 2017.

Republican Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, of Dana Point, opposed the bill, saying the independent oversight is needed.


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