High-Speed Rail

Hanford group will host own rail workshop

A Hanford citizens group is organizing a workshop to help people learn how they can comment on the proposed Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of California's high-speed rail project.

Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability, which opposes the rail routes through Kings County, is holding the session from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church, 9125 131/2 Avenue in Hanford.

The meeting is open to residents of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.

Attendance at the workshop, which will look at the environmental review process, is limited to 400 people. Reservations can be made by emailing cchsraorg@gmail.com. Additional information is available at cchsra.org.

The workshop comes in advance of three public hearings that the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the Federal Railroad Administration will hold next week on a draft environmental impact report for its Fresno-to-Bakersfield section. The hearings are set for:

Bakersfield: 3-8 p.m. Monday, Beale Memorial Library, 701 Truxtun Ave.

Hanford: 3-8 p.m. Tuesday, Hanford Fraternal Hall, 1015 N. 10th Ave.

Fresno: 3-8 p.m. Wednesday, Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall, 848 M St.

The EIR includes thousands of pages of details on the potential effects of rail construction and operation on the environment, residents, farms, businesses, towns and wildlife habitat between Fresno and Bakersfield.

The report can be viewed online at cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/revised-draft-eir-f-b.aspx.

In addition to public testimony at the hearings, state and federal railroad administrators will accept comments in writing and online through Sept. 20. Comments can be emailed to the rail authority at Fresno_Bakersfield@hsr.ca.gov or online at cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/revised-draft-eir-f-b.aspx.

This is the second draft of the EIR. The first version was released about a year ago, but it was pulled back for engineers and consultants to make revisions to address concerns from residents, businesses and farmers along the route.

The comments received by Sept. 20, as well as comments that were received for the first draft last fall, will be included, along with consultants' responses in a final EIR that is expected to be released in early 2013.