Final approval for the creation of the nation’s first high-speed rail network has been granted by Californian lawmakers.
Construction on the bullet train line will commence in the state’s Central Valley, where the high-speed train is expected to reach speeds of 220 mph (355 kph).
$8 billion has been earmarked for the initial 130-mile (209 km) track.
Following the 21-16 vote in the Senate, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown said the new network would boost job creation and provide an alternative to car and plane travel in the country’s most populous state.
But Republicans who opposed the bill said the US$68 billion project would take away from basic services such as education and healthcare.
Farmers whose land lies in the path of the state’s largest-ever infrastructure project also stand in opposition to the plan.
As part of the bill, over US$2 billion of federal, state and local funds will be spent on rail projects in urban areas linking to a statewide system.
“Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level,” California High-Speed Rail Authority Chair Dan Richard said.
“This plan will improve mobility for commuters and travelers alike, reduce emissions, and put thousands of people to work while enhancing our economic competitiveness.”
Linking Sacramento and San Francisco to Los Angeles, the project is expected to take decades to complete.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H