California Senate Votes to Fund 1st US Bullet Train
$7.9B good for 130 miles, a fraction of project's $68B
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2012 5:33 AM CDT
This undated file photo provided by the California High Speed Rail Authority shows an artist's rendering of a high-speed train traveling along the California coast.   (AP Photo/California High Speed Rail Authority)

(Newser) – The California Senate narrowly approved the $7.9 billion needed to start construction on the United States' first dedicated high-speed train line, which eventually should connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. About $4.6 billion will come from state bonds and $3.3 billion from the federal government, money that could have been taken away if California did not authorize its funds this month. While that may sound like a lot of money, in fact it is just enough for the first 130 miles of track, and the budget for the entire line has ballooned up to $68 billion, way up from the original $40 billion.

No date has been set yet for when construction will begin, but when it does the first segment will be built in the lightly populated Central Valley, from Madera to Bakersfield. The plan still faces regulatory approval and lawsuits from farming interests, notes the Los Angeles Times, but yesterday's vote keeps it alive. "This the wrong plan," said one of the four Democrats who voted against the train, "in the wrong place at the wrong time."