SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – 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 That would allow the state to collect about $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.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.
The bill, which passed the state Assembly, now heads to the governor.