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Bullet train stays alive on narrow state Senate vote

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gov. Jerry Brown and backers of California’s bullet train got the dramatic, not to mention narrow, victory they were hoping for with today’s 21-16 vote in the state Senate to keep the project alive. The nearly $8 billion authorized to begin the historic project along a 130-mile stretch of the Central Valley (the “train to nowhere” segment as opponents are fond of calling it) came in the nick of time, with the feds threatening to pull support if Sacramento didn’t come through.

The Assembly had voted its approval Thursday. The bullet train failed to garner a single Republican vote in either chamber. From the LA Times:
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg  (D-Sacramento), who was under intense pressure to round up votes in support of the plan, called Friday "a turning point in California, a time when we decided to say yes to hope, yes to progress, yes to the future."
The vote is a sigh of relief for the Obama administration, which has pushed hard for the bullet train:
On Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who had made repeated trips and telephone calls to California to push for the project, called the vote a "big win" for the state. "No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows," LaHood said in a statement. "With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative."

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