Vidak Introduces 'Right of First Refusal' Measure for Abandoned High-Speed Rail Land Grabs

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sacramento – Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) recently introduced Senate Bill 940, which would provide previous property owners the ability to buy back their property no longer in the path of High-Speed Rail.

“The path of High-Speed Rail changes more often than the seasons,” said Vidak.  “The family homes, businesses, property and farmland High-Speed Rail grabs today won’t be needed tomorrow.”

The High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) says it needs nearly 1,300 individual properties to complete the 120-mile route from Madera to Bakersfield.  In many cases, land and homes have been in families for generations, and farmland that has been split reduces or destroys its productivity.

SB 940 not only gives property owners the right of first refusal, if they don’t want to buy back the property, it also requires the state to sell or exchange the property. Current law doesn’t require the HSRA to sell unnecessary property, so the state could hold onto that property forever. 

“Passage of SB 940 is especially important since most of us know High-Speed Rail will never really be completed. Folks should have the first right to buy back property the High-Speed Rail Authority purchased or took from them.”

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