Bisecting the state with a rail line on a budget numbering in the tens of billions of dollars sounds easy, but it may turn into 1,100 battles with farmers, business owners, and homeowners. And Kings County may be the main battleground in the war.

The high-speed rail will cut through Kings at about 220 miles per hour, meaning that the 28 miles of track must be fairly straight. The train won’t be able to turn sharply to go around property lines. It will have to cut right through them.

With little more than a year before the High Speed Rail Authority hopes to begin construction, that leaves little time to settle all of the potential real estate sales, especially when some people aren’t interested in selling. What could result are numerous, bloody cases of eminent domain.

From the Sacramento Bee:

About 1,100 pieces of property – farms, businesses and homes – lie along the potential routes for California’s high-speed trains between Madera and Shafter, where construction is planned to begin in late 2012.

Within the next week or so, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will begin looking for companies to negotiate with property owners and seal the deals on rights of way for the first 120 miles or so of tracks in the San Joaquin Valley. It’s a contract that could be worth up to $40 million.

It won’t be an easy payday. However skilled the negotiators are, getting a foot in the door – never mind consummating a satisfactory deal – will be a challenge when some owners just don’t want to sell.

Read the full article here.