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Are You All Aboard Now That Funding For High-Speed Rail Has Been Approved?

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed the first $8 billion leg of the $69 billion project, setting in motion the most expensive project in state history. When high-speed rail finally comes along, will you be buying a ticket?

The state Senate voted 21-16 last week in approval of putting billions of dollars of funding into beginning work on California’s high-speed rail project. The project received $7.9 billion in state and federal money, which will be used for the first 130-miles of track and to upgrade a handful of transit programs, including Caltrain.

The state Senate vote follows a 51-27 Assembly vote that authorized the spending. In Friday’s vote, most Democrats voted in favor of the project, while Republicans opposed it, according to NBC Bay Area.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed lawmakers to approve the project, will now receive the funding measure.

“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," Brown said in a statement after the vote. "The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again.”

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who sat on the Senate's unofficial bullet train oversight group, voted against the funding.

With high-speed rail finally moving forward, Caltrain and Peninsula residents are set to reap even more benefits as well, the Mercury News reported:

Friday's vote also launches a long-sought project to transform the 150-year-old Caltrain line into an electrified commuter track carrying cheaper, zippier Caltrains between San Francisco and San Jose later this decade. BART will receive $140 million for new train cars, and Muni will receive $60 million for a new subway line to Chinatown.

The $1.5 billion Caltrain overhaul, which is also being funded with local and federal funds, is expected to finally solve the popular commuter line's ongoing fiscal crisis.

Statewide bullet trains would join the electrified Caltrain line next decade at the start of a three-hour journey from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles, with a one-way ticket pegged at $85 in today's dollars.

This all begs the question: Are you all aboard?

Vickie Hornbeck July 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM
No, I'm not. We simply can't afford it. They are many other higher priorities. I'm amazed at this happening -- just where is this money coming from -- China????
Sally homer July 12, 2012 at 04:22 PM
This will bring this country into the 21st century and on par with train travel in Europe etc. About time. Caltrain and Bart are behind he times
Alex Kent July 12, 2012 at 05:52 PM
"High Speed Fail". Fund "A Better Place" swoppable battery electric cars incentives instead. Way better impact for the environment, way less debt for CA to dig themselves further into, way more useful for way more people.
Alex Kent July 12, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Yes, much of the Federal and State debt comes from China...as does 100% of the steel for the Bay Bridge redo. When will we have to hand over the keys to China?
Bugs Bunny July 12, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Better learn to protect yourself Sally. BART will bring more crime to the Peninsula. Statistical fact. You want urban you will get urban.

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