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I am happy. I can now look forward to being able to take a train to Los Angeles instead of driving sometime before I die. Maybe.

Seriously, though, this is excellent news.  I've never quite understood why the Legislature had to vote to release money to be spent on the project, since Californians made their opinion clear back in 2008 when they voted for a $10 billion bond to partially fund the project, 53% - 47%.


But apparently the Legislature did need to vote, and vote they did. The Assembly voted earlier today yesterday and passed the motion easily. In the Senate, however, it was a squeaker passing with a bare majority of twenty-one votes out of forty.

Ben Adler @adlerben
Negrete McLeod goes to aye for 21st vote. High speed rail money passes. Steinberg elated.
The approval was a major legislative victory for Gov. Jerry Brown. Steinberg said the Democratic governor "talked to a couple members" ahead of the vote, while Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, reminded colleagues that the project not only had Brown's attention, but also that of President Barack Obama and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
California has an unemployment rate that is, well, about as high comparatively as the bullet train's eventually speed is to Amtrak. The state's unemployment rate is 10.9%, 2.7% higher than the far-too-high national average.  California can use any help it can find over the next few years to get it's unemployement rate and economy back on track. Hopefully, beginning construction on the project will aid in that.
Steinberg and other Democrats said the project would create thousands of jobs and make necessary improvements to the state's transportation infrastructure.
But in any case it's good to see some legislators, in at least one state, thinking about the long term.  
"Members, this is a big vote," Steinberg said as he opened floor debate on the bill this afternoon. "In the era of term limits, how many chances do we have to vote for something this important and long-lasting?"
Yeah, it may cost a shitload of money to build, but that's called investing in the future.  And with interest rates at record lows what better time to borrow the money to pay for it?

I've ridden the high speed rails in Japan and France. Someday I hope to be able to tell someone in Los Angeles that the way to San Jose, and on to San Francisco, is not via Interstate 5, but via our own bullet train.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics, Progressive Policy Zone, SFKossacks, SciTech, and Sunday Train.

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