High-speed rail line in California approved by lawmakers - GlobalPost
California lawmakers passed the first instalment of financing for a high-speed rail line in the state on Saturday.
The approval is seen as a win for both the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, and the Obama administration, both of which have backed high-speed rail as a clean transportation alternative.
According to the Associated Press, the California Senate passed the bill 21-16 along party lines, with Democrats approving the measure.
The vote passed the State Assembly with a 51-27 vote Thursday.
Many Democrats worried that a victory in the Senate was far from certain.
The new law allows the state to commence selling $4.5 billion in bonds to build the first stretch of the line in California's Central Valley. Reuters reported that the move will allow the state to receive $3.2 billion in federal government stimulus funding to finish the initial project. More from GlobalPost: Germany battles over future of solar
An extra $2 billion in federal, state and local funds will be spent to connect the new rail system to local transport links. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that the bill passed with a bare minimum amount of votes, with some Democrats refusing to support the measure because of the placement of the tracks and the cost.
"I think high-speed rail makes sense in California ... but we're not being asked to vote on a vision today, we're being asked to vote on a particular plan," said Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto on the Senate floor, according to the Chronicle.
"Regrettably, the only conclusion I can come to today is that this is the wrong plan in the wrong place in the wrong time."
Those who support the bill argued that it would create jobs and promote public transit to protect the environment.
Other states such as Florida and Ohio have already rejected the federal government's offer of stimulus money to build high-speed rail lines. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...oved-lawmakers