According to this op-ed, the city of Los Angeles is implementing a sweeping, yet almost completely unpublicized, effort to give historic status to tens-of-thousands of homes and properties across the city, without ever telling anyone about it.
With federal and state environmental clearance and with funds allocated, the main obstacle to laying track in the Fresno-Merced route is an environmental lawsuit to be be heard April, 2013. Two county farm bureaus ask that work cease until then.
The $4.7 billion high speed rail bond appropriation, signed by Gov. Brown on July 18 included $2 billion for transit upgrades in the Bay Area and Southern CA. Max Taves reports that litigation in the Central Valley could target that funding.