Governor's budget could derail portion of high-speed rail - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Governor's budget could derail portion of high-speed rail project

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - With the governor's new budget eliminating funding for the San Diego to Los Angeles section of the high-speed rail project for the next fiscal year, work on that portion could come to a temporary standstill as of July 1. But residents' concerns over the plan have not come to a stop.

"Currently, we're assuming this section will essentially go through a pause," said Jose Martinez, regional director of the High Speed Rail Authority. "We're basically in a holding pattern."

Residents who could eventually be impacted by the high-speed rail, if and when funding is restored, are not holding back.

"It's a total boondoggle waste of money," said Clairemont resident Butch Biendara. "I can't see people taking that iron horse, start and stop, start and stop, start and stop."

At the last of a series of public workshops on the plan, property owners who stand to lose their homes - depending on which route is ultimately chosen - railed against the plan.

"Who is going to want to buy our houses if they know high speed rail tracks are going to run right over right next to them?" said Mira Mesa resident Carol Gaines.

Currently, two routes are under consideration: one tunneling under University City to the intersection of I-5 and state route 52, and the other continuing down I-15 to state route 163. Both routes would terminate at Lindbergh Field.

While many residents are concerned about the noise levels the high sped rail would generate, others are worried about the impact on surrounding park lands and natural habitats.

"You basically destroyed the area, certainly for recreational value and probably for wildlife as well," said Deborah Knight of Friends of Rose Canyon.

In the meantime, work will continue uninterrupted on the $40 billion primary segment of the high-speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with construction in the Central Valley expected to begin in September of next year.

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