Nation Eyes High-Speed Rail
In a narrow victory, 21-16 along party lines, the California legislature voted to approve selling $4.5 billion in bonds to start building the first 130-mile leg of the state’s high-speed rail system.
In response, Governor Brown commended the legislature for taking “bold action” that will get “California out in front once again.”
California’s vote for high-speed rail funding is historic. It marks support for the largest public infrastructure project in the state’s history and sets California on the path to be the first state in the nation to have high-speed rail.
The victory prompted optimism from Secretary of Transportation Ray La Hood. “We’re off to a great start, but we still have a long way to go. We hope our friends in Congress take their cues from California.”
La Hood and Governor Brown have advocated for high-speed rail as a means to accommodate future population growth, improve mobility and provide a greener transportation alternative. State and federal officials have also claimed that high-speed rail will create jobs.
High-speed rail funding has been previously rejected by governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, turning away billions of dollars in federal funding from the Obama Administration to improve the nation’s high-speed rail network.
An expanded high-speed rail network will also produce significant economic benefits. According to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association, investing in high-speed rail will generate a net benefit of $660 million annually or a total of $26 billion over the next four decades.