It was a squeaker, but the state senate approved legislation to authorize the selling of bonds for construction of the California high-speed rail, finally moving the project toward a groundbreaking, the Sacramento Bee reports. The senate needed 21 Democrats to vote for the legislation and that's just what they got--every GOP senator voted no, as well as four Democrats, including Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach and Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills. The dissenters argue that the funding plan is amorphous and construction should start in LA or the Bay Area as opposed to the Central Valley. The legislation, which authorizes $2.6 billion in bonds and $3.2 billion in federal money, also provides $2 billion to electrify Caltrain, the NorCal commuter rail network, and Metrolink, our SoCal commuter line. The electrification will enable faster, quieter trains into Downtown LA and SF. The bill will soon be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, and provides a win for him, President Obama, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who champion the project and call it a jobs bonanza. "Our predecessors faced this same challenge before building California's freeway networks and the Bay Area's bridges," Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg said in a statement before the vote, according to the Los Angeles Times. The first portion of the train to be built will be a 130-mile connection between Bakersfield and Madera.
· California Senate approves funding for high-speed rail [SacBee]
· High-Speed Rail Archives [Curbed LA]