California approves high-speed rail funding

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
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California’s high-speed design concept along the BNSF Corridor in the Central Valley.
California High Speed Rail Authority

On Friday, July 6, the California Senate followed the State Assembly in approving funds for the first 130 miles of the planned high-speed rail corridor. Voter-approved bonds to finance the project can now be sold with the bill's passage.

The state can also collect more than $3 billion in federal funds, which would have been in danger of being revoked had the legislation not been approved.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement after the vote, “In 2008, California voters decided to create jobs and modernize our state’s rail transportation system with a major investment in high-speed rail and key local projects in Northern and Southern California. The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again.”

“Today’s vote to commence high-speed rail construction, like all major public policy decisions, is the result of hard work and collaborative effort. Credit must go to Governor Brown whose courage and steadfast leadership has improved the High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans and operations,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority Chair Dan Richard. “We also express deep gratitude to Assembly Speaker John Perez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for passing this measure through their houses. The Legislature’s action sets in motion a Statewide Rail Modernization Plan for California. Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level. This plan will improve mobility for commuters and travelers alike, reduce emissions and put thousands of people to work while enhancing our economic competitiveness.”

United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said, “I congratulate the Legislature on taking action to strengthen and grow the California economy. No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows. With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative. It will ultimately deliver fast, efficient, reliable service between San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles Basin in less than three hours. Californians have always embraced bold visions and delivered public projects that chart the way for the rest of the nation; today’s vote continues that tradition of leadership.”

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