"When the state chose to start construction of the high-speed rail in the Central Valley, it was based partly on the theory that assembling needed land would be easiest in the state's rural backbone," Vartabedian writes. "As it turns out, some of the farmers most resistant to accepting state offers are proving to be wealthy, highly educated professionals and investors—and formidable opponents in negotiations."
"A surge of lawsuits over land acquisition could entangle the rail agency in a bottleneck outside its control: local court systems where attorneys say just getting a pretrial hearing can take months," Vartabedian writes. One problem, rural landowners say, is that "No farmers serve on the high-speed-rail board, and critics contend the state hasn't sought to engage growers in the planning process." (Read more)