High Speed Rail

Calif. Bullet Train Land Compensation Plan Approved

Foes say authorities are grossly underestimating land value


Bullet-train planners took their first step toward reducing their system's footprint on agriculture Wednesday, approving a $20 million effort to compensate for farmland lost to the railroad right of way.

The farmland-preservation action, approved at the California High-Speed Rail Authority meeting in Sacramento, authorizes the rail agency to work with the state Department of Conservation to put up at least $20 million to buy farmland conservation easements.

For each acre of agricultural land that would be lost to the railroad right of way in the Valley—an estimated 2,500 acres from Merced to Bakersfield—at least one acre of permanent easement would be secured.

Farming advocates, however, said the authority is underestimating the cost.