Land acquisition for high-speed rail moving slowly

by Juliet Williams, Associated Press
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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The agency that oversees California’s high-speed rail project has started the daunting and expensive process of acquiring thousands of acres in the Central Valley.

But months after shovels were supposed to be in the ground, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is in escrow on just one parcel out of 370 that it needs to buy or seize through eminent domain.

Officials say they are in final negotiations with another 38 and in negotiations over hundreds more.

For some owners, a buyout could be a welcome relief, but for many others it is traumatic and confusing.

Attorney Tony Leones, who specializes in eminent domain, says it can be daunting even for sophisticated businesspeople. Owners often have just months to relocate homes or businesses they have owned for decades.

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