A nearly bankrupt state plays with trains?
The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line in the agriculturally rich Central Valley. That allows the state to draw another $3.2 billion in federal funding.
The first segment of the line will run from Madera to Bakersfield.
Senate Republicans blasted the decision, citing the state's ongoing budget problems. They said project would push California over a fiscal cliff. No GOP senators voted for the bill Friday.
The final cost of the completed project from Los Angeles to San Francisco is projected to be $68 billion.
"It's unfortunate that the majority would rather spend billions of dollars that we don't have for a train to nowhere than keep schools open and harmless from budget cuts," Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, said in a statement.
Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is managing the project, said California would have lost billions of dollars in federal aid if the Senate fails to pass the bill before adjourning Friday for a monthlong recess.
See Votes by State
News & Politics