2. Yes, indeed! Though many on DU have cast asparagus on this one...
(X-posted in GD)
All Aboard!!! Next Stop, Governor Brown!
California OKs funding for high-speed rail line
JUDY LIN | July 6, 2012 07:01 PM EST | AP
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers have approved billions of dollars in construction financing for the first segment of what would be the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, eventually connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The state Senate voted 21-16 on a party-line vote Friday after intense lobbying by Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic leaders and labor groups.
The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $2.6 billion in voter-approved bonds to build an initial 130-miles stretch in the Central Valley. That would allow the state to collect about $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.
Critics call the bullet train a boondoggle, but supporters hailed the vote as the start of a much-needed infrastructure project. The bill also includes about $1.9 billion in funds for local rail projects.
California high speed rail plan faces make-or-break vote
By Mary Slosson
SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 6 | Sat Jul 7, 2012 12:30am IST
(Reuters) - California's high speed rail project faces a fiercely contested financing vote in the state Senate on Friday that could determine its fate following years of controversy over the high cost of the plan, now pegged at $68 billion, and concerns about its management.
The project, expected to take decades to complete, has the backing of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who says a bullet train network will boost job creation and provide an alternative to car and plane travel in the country's most populous state.
Unions have also lobbied hard for what amounts to the most ambitious public works project to date in California, which has a 10.8 percent unemployment rate.
But Republicans oppose the plan, whose estimated costs have ballooned from an initial $45 billion to over $68 billion. They predict it will be a massive financial burden for the state.