In a vote of 21-16, lawmakers gave the go-ahead for the issuance of $2.6 billion in bonds, while Washington will provide an additional $3.2 billion. The bill also includes close to $2 billion in funding for local projects.
"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," said Dan Richard, chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, a state agency.
The cost of the completed project is estimated at more than $68 billion. The first phase is set to be built in the state's Central Valley.
The bill heads next to the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been a staunch supporter of the project. He says it will help create jobs and modernize the state's transportation system.
It's an ambitious project and absolutely necessary for job-starved California. It's as close to a full-blown Public Works Administration rebirth in the state as you can get. Good for them. California is once again leading the nation out of the dark ages of superstition and nonsense.