Bullet train authority settles Central Valley environmental suit

A lawsuit alleging that approval of the high-speed rail system’s first sections in the Central Valley violated state environmental laws was settled Thursday, eliminating a legal obstacle that could have delayed construction.

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge approved an agreement that calls for the California High-Speed Rail Authority to further reduce the project’s effects on farming operations, preserve agricultural land and provide additional compensation for landowners.

The first segments of the planned 500-mile rail system are to run between Merced and Fresno. Construction of an initial 29-mile section between Madera and Fresno is scheduled to begin in July.

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-- Dan Weikel

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