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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 Friday 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 for San Bruno residents: Are you all aboard?

Mike July 08, 2012 at 11:38 PM
State Prisons and County Jails are overcrowded, schools closing, classroom overcrowding, State veterans' services being cut or denied, police and fire layoffs, cities going bankrupt, Roadways in need of serious maintenance the list goes on and on. Can we afford high speed rail? If we can and really want it why not save a few billion dollars by completion of the BART connection between San Jose and Millbrae. Then run a BART line from Pleasanton out to a high speed rail station in Livermore. That would eliminate high speed trains going through San Mateo County cities to San Francisco. It would also eliminate the need to have tax payer supported Cal Train. Having a station in Livermore would only add minutes to a trip from SF to LA. and the train could travel at high speeds down the eye-5 corridor on "cheap land".
Jonathan Koolpe July 09, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Emphatically and hugely opposed to this foolish waste of money. Our state is how many multitudes of billions in the fiscal hole again? And now we need to contribute more multi-billion of dollars into this boondoggle? What the *bleep* is wrong with our so-called leaders? Fix the fiscal nightmare that is the CA State budget first via pension reform, repeal of the DREAM act, repeal of cap and trade, and shrinking government over-regulation on business, and then maybe we can pursue these sorts of projects! And how come our esteemed governor wants us all to vote ourselves a nice, fat tax increase come November claiming we need the money to fix the education system and other necessary, well-established and clearly needed programs, but somehow there are billions laying around for this expenditure? Don't be fooled by fairly tale dreams of supposedly "greener" LA/SF trips! In the end, these billions of dollars will end up wasted on the ash heap of Big Government's trash pile. No to Brown's tax increase, and NOOO!!! to the boondoggle that this high speed train wreck will be!
John Hanson July 10, 2012 at 05:27 PM
We are buying jobs. It will help quiet the train running through San Bruno, when it go electriic. I would like to get away from airports for a change.
Dana Facciano July 12, 2012 at 04:43 AM
From everything I have heard it will not be "high-speed" that this is a farce. Also, they say environmentalists will have issues with the train going through certain areas that may affect certain animals, etc. They say lawyers will become very rich from all of the lawsuits this train will bring (primarily from environmentalists). How will we know how much cheaper it will be to take this train since we have no idea how much gas will cost at that time, etc? Will people truly take a train vs jumping on a plane (although that is no longer as easy as it once was). Some people feel that a train is an old-fashioned way to travel that most people will not use. I love this topic and am looking forward to hearing the arguments, for and against.

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