Bullet train gets go-ahead

Merced-to-Fresno leg of track granted federal approval

California’s $69 billion high-speed rail line was granted federal approval on Sept. 19, likely drawing a new round of lawsuits from environmental groups in the Central Valley.

Gov. Jerry Brown and the California legislature approved the Merced-to-Fresno section of the bullet train two months ago, but a Federal Railroad Administration endorsement was necessary before work began on the first leg of the track, according to InsideBayArea.com. President Barack Obama and the United States Congress had previously approved the federal share of funding for the project, but U.S. officials had yet to determine if the plans met federal environmental laws.

The federal government’s ruling found that the bullet train will have significant negative impacts on the environment and community, including loud noises and reduction of property value, but deemed the project worthwhile.