By The Bakersfield Californian
Lois Henry, in her column concerning the extension of Highway 58 and the development of the Centennial Corridor ("Federal rules tie the noose over Westpark homes," Dec. 2), seems to offer us no good solutions to the problem created by the Section 4(f) regulations.
I would like to suggest two ways to deal with this issue. First, and possibly the easiest, is to have Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduce a bill to suspend this provision for this single project. He could include in this bill how the loss of a park facility would be compensated for with the acquisition of some adjacent land for park expansion. This looks to be easiest for Alterntative C.
Barring this, an alternative would be to buy off the residents and businesses that are impacted by Alternative B, which is the least expensive of the three. Using the savings from this route and distributing that money to the affected residents and businesses could tamp down the objections to this route. Between A and B, there is a difference of $120 million. Divided by the 431 homes and businesses affected, that would result in an additional $278,000 to each one. For Alternative B to Alternative C, the difference would be $95,000.
Either one of these amounts would go a long way toward salving the hurt caused by the taking of these properties. Actually, I think the first idea is the most practical.