“The state Senate vote authorizing initial funding for California’s high-speed rail project was hailed by backers Friday as a pivotal step in building the controversial project,” the L.A. Times is reporting.
“U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who had made repeated trips and telephone calls to California to push for the project, called the vote a ‘big win’ for the state.
“‘No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows,’ LaHood said in a statement. ‘With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative.’
“It is unclear when construction on the largest infrastructure project in the country can begin. The state still needs a series of regulatory approvals to start the first 130 miles of track in the Central Valley. The plan also faces lawsuits by agriculture interests and potential opposition by major freight railroads.
“But proponents rejoiced at Friday’s razor-thin 21-16 vote, which allocates roughly $8 billion for the first segment of track and related projects. Barring insurmountable obstacles, Californians eventually will be able to ride a bullet train — traveling as fast as 220 mph — between Los Angeles and San Francisco rather than fly or drive on aging highways.
‘The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again,’ Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement. The governor has been promoting the project since taking office in 2011 and is expected to sign the funding bill.
The rest of the article is here.
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