Dams or trains question Todd Fitchette
Some think California's high-speed rail project will cause irreversible damage to production agriculture in the state.

Will bullet train steam roll Central Valley agriculture?

Some think bullet train could turn San Joaquin Valley into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley

Turning the San Joaquin Valley into a Bay Area bedroom is one question being pondered as California’s high-speed boondoggle chugs along.

What happens to Central Valley agriculture if places like Fresno become a bedroom community for the Silicon Valley?

An article by the San Jose Mercury News, published online in the Fresno Bee, asks, “Will the 220 mph train become a Silicon Valley Express for droves of millennials and others who can barely afford to rent, let alone buy, a Bay Area home?”

Whether the San Joaquin and Silicon valleys are ever connected by a bullet train capable of speeds of nearly four miles a minute remains to be seen though one could argue the outcome of such won’t be the utopia proponents argue.

Let’s for an instance suppose it does happen and Fresno becomes a quick bullet-train commute from San Jose, complete with cushy seats and Wi-Fi that can keep up with high-tech employees that have pushed Bay Area real estate prices to infinity and beyond.

How much will it cost to ride the rail, and what will be the economic fallout from such an endeavor?

Given the over budget estimates of the current system, the $63 ticket price estimated in the newspaper article (most cars can currently make this trip for half the price) might be low given how government tends to overpay for projects.

How much higher will real estate and rents go in Fresno County? How will this impact farmland prices when single-family houses cost several million dollars and a tiny apartment rents for $5,000 per month?

Where will farm employees and those working for the region’s food processors live once housing costs and rent surpass their ability to pay?

How will agricultural programs at Fresno State be impacted and would students even afford to live in such high-rent conditions where the monthly price of an apartment equals that of a used car?

Can a bullet train really travel 220 mph over Pacheco Pass?

Will this truly reduce traffic congestion or, would it be better and cheaper to take the money spent on high-speed rail and add a few more lanes to our existing highways, then use the balance to improve California’s water infrastructure? 

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