Reporting Dave Bryan
SACRAMENTO (CBS/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.
Intense lobbying might be an understatement. CBS2 and KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan says “there was a lot of twisting arms and calling favors.”
Sen. Tony Strickland (Republican, Moorpark) decidedly not a fan. “I believe this is a colossal fiscal train wreck for California.”
Bryan also spoke to commuters and found mixed reaction to the proposed train.
The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $2.7 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 That would allow the state to collect about $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.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.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)