State Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) and Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) along with several other state legislators have sent a letter to High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard requesting an extension of the time period set to review the final environmental impact report (EIR) for the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the proposed project.
The High Speed Rail Authority has taken the last 18 months to prepare the final EIR and has scheduled a public hearing for May 6. They will consider approval of the document on May 7. This only gives the public approximately 17 days to review the 20,000 page document which contains 4,800 pages of responses to public comment.
Not only does the EIR contain vital information on environmental impacts, it also offers information on how construction and operation of the High Speed Rail will affect neighborhoods and farmland. Most importantly, the document provides answers to many of the questions that people in the Central Valley have had about the project and how it will impact their livelihoods.
“Seventeen days just isn’t enough time for the public to review this massive document,” Assemblyman Patterson said. “My constituents have waited 18 months to receive answers to their questions about how this project will impact their lives. They deserve more time to review responses to these questions.”
"The High-Speed Rail Authority is once again trying to ram this project through the heart of our Valley without allowing time for constituents’ voices to be heard," said Senator Vidak.
In the letter to Chairman Richard, the legislators requested hat that the Authority postpone any public hearing and/or potential approval of the Final EIR until after June 30, 2014, allowing the public approximately one month to review and provide further comments on the Final EIR.