California High-Speed Rail to Begin Construction


The US state of California has approved the first phase of construction of a much anticipated yet controversial high-speed rail project linking Los Angeles and San Francisco, officials said.

Following years of contentious debate, state senators voted 21-16 Friday to allocate about $8 billion for the initial stretch of tracks for a line that is expected to see trains speeding along at up to 220 miles an hour (355 kph).

“The legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and put California out in front once again,” Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat and longtime proponent, said after the vote on the eve of the summer recess.

All 15 Republicans voted against the funding measure, which comes at a time when California — the most populous US state — is struggling with budget woes that have forced it to cut services.

“Closing schools for three weeks while spending $8 billion on 130 miles of train tracks defies logic and is irresponsible,” said Senate Republican leader Bob Huff.

The state’s Assembly had approved the funding Thursday in a 51-27 vote.


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