State Senate Approves Launch of High-Speed Rail
After a dramatic two-hour debate, the state Senate on Friday approved a bill to begin construction on California's high-speed rail network.
The Senate voted 21-16 to go ahead with an $8 billion plan to start work on the rail line in the Central Valley, despite opposition from several key Democrats.
East Bay Senator Mark DeSaulnier was one of the Democratic "no" votes. An avowed supporter of plans for a bullet train, he said he was concerned about the current proposal's financing and the decision to start construction in the San Joaquin Valley--far from the state's biggest population centers.
"I find myself here today," DeSaulnier told his colleagues, "in an odd position of being absolutely convinced of the rightness of my no vote but also being absolutely certain that I hope and really feel strongly that I'm wrong about the risk we are taking."
But fellow Democrat Mark Leno of San Francisco said the project represents a needed injection of funds for the state's prosperity.
"It is massive." Leno said. "This is a huge investment not only in today, but in our future."