Bakersfield is in Kern County which is generally considered part of Southern California and shares its southern border with Los Angeles County. However, many residents consider Bakersfield to be more a part of Central California as it is near Kings and Tulare counties and is a hub for agriculture and oil production.
The initial 2005 Environmental Impact Report for the system considered two general alignments for the Fresno to Bakersfield segment: one following the BNSF Railway right-of-way down the center of the Central Valley, and another following the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way farther to the east. The BNSF alignment was chosen because it avoided urban areas, making it less expensive and having fewer constructibility concerns. The preferred Bakersfield station option co-located it with the existing Bakersfield station at Truxtun Avenue due to its central location and connectivity with existing transportation. The city of Bakersfield had endorsed the Truxtun Avenue station location in 2003, but reversed its position in 2011 to oppose the High-Speed Rail project due to concerns on the impact to new facilities and revitalization to the downtown area that had occurred in the interim.