By Tim Sheehan | The Sacramento Bee
For more than five years, California’s high-speed rail project has disrupted and dislocated residents and businesses up and down the central San Joaquin Valley through the acquisition of property for the bullet-train right of way.
Some of those former property owners are wondering now whether their sacrifice – either through eminent domain or as leveraged sellers – will have been for nothing. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s change in priorities for the project announced in his Feb. 19 State of the State address, and the Trump administration’s plan to cancel or pull back about $3.5 billion in federal grant funds awarded for high-speed rail construction in the Valley, have fueled uncertainty over the fate of construction in the Valley.
“It makes me angry, very angry, because we could have sold our house for so much more,” said Sheryl Haflich, who with her husband Bobby were stuck in limbo for several years before the California High-Speed Rail Authority was legally able to purchase their home north of Madera in the fall of 2015. “We could have had a better start for retirement, and we could have gotten out when we wanted to instead of when they decided to.”