A diverse group of local community and business leaders, elected officials and residents today announced the formation of a coalition in support of locating the high-speed rail heavy maintenance facility in Madera County. The coalition kicked off its efforts by unveiling a new website and informational video.
Wye Madera County, whose membership includes individuals from the County of Madera, the City of Madera, the Madera Unified School District, the Madera County Economic Development Commission, the City of Chowchilla, the Madera County Workforce Development Board, and the Madera Association of Realtors, recognizes Madera County as the cheaper, faster and smarter location for the heavy maintenance facility due to its cost-effective sites, existing industrial zoning, central location and regional economic benefits.
“We want the heavy maintenance facility to have a seamless launch,” said Wye Madera County member and Madera County Supervisor Brett Frazier. “Shovel-ready sites will decrease longterm operational costs and save money on costs associated with land acquisition and land use approvals. By saving time and money, the residents of our region will be allowed to work in this facility sooner rather than later, which will benefit all Californians.”
Madera County is located near the Wye, which will serve as a main junction for the high-speed rail system by connecting the Central Valley to San Francisco Bay Area-, Sacramento- and Southern California-bound trains. Additionally, in contrast to other Central Valley counties vying for the heavy maintenance facility, Madera County is offering single parcel sites that are connected to existing infrastructure. One such site is on Avenue 12, which is zoned industrial.
In addition, Madera County offers its accessibility to the workforce in surrounding communities. Located in between Fresno and Merced counties, the economic benefits of a heavy maintenance facility in Madera County will expand beyond its borders.
“Locating the heavy maintenance facility in the center of the region through a Madera County site will give residents in Merced, Fresno and other nearby counties employment opportunities, which will help lift up our local economies,” said Madera County Supervisor and Wye Madera County member Max Rodriguez.
Madera County also has a proven record of success in job creation and training. It was ranked No. 1 in the nation last year for manufacturing job growth, and the Madera Unified School District has proactively implemented job training programs. These produce approximately 200 graduates per year ready to work at the heavy maintenance facility.
“We are constantly looking for ways to stimulate job creation, and the heavy maintenance facility represents a terrific opportunity to build on our success. Madera County’s close proximity to UC Merced and Fresno State increases workforce development and other partnership opportunities with both institutions,” said Madera Unified School District Superintendent and Wye Madera County member Ed Gonzalez. “We are the cheaper, faster, smarter choice and welcome all who share our vision to join us in this effort.”
Wye Madera County members will educate the community about why Madera County is the best location for the heavy maintenance facility through the informational video and a website, as well as a Facebook page, letters of support and ongoing engagement at Authority board meetings. The Authority is currently anticipated to decide the location of the heavy maintenance facility later this year. Anyone is welcome to join Wye Madera County.
If you would like to join Wye Madera County and learn more about the high-speed rail heavy maintenance facility, please visit www.wyemaderacounty.com.