Nail-biter Vote In CA: State Senate Approves High Speed Rail

Without a vote to spare, the CA state senate voted to authorize $5.8 billion to begin construction in the Central Valley of the nation's first true HSR system. The assembly passed the bill earlier in the week.
July 7, 2012, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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David Siders provided the play-by-play in the Senate chambers:

"The approval was uncertain as recently as hours before the vote. With all 15 Republican senators opposed to the measure and several Democratic lawmakers wavering, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg scrambled to muster at least 21 of 25 Democratic votes.

Twenty-one Democratic senators voted 'Yes.'

Sen. Joe Simitian of Palo Alto was one of four Democrats to break ranks with his colleagues. Simitian said he supports the vision of high-speed rail, but not the current plan. He said there are "billions of reasons" to oppose it.

Other Democratic senators opposing the measure were (Plan B) supporter Mark DeSaulnier, of Concord, Alan Lowenthal, of Long Beach, and Fran Pavley, of Agoura Hills."

Marisa Lagos of SF Gate further reports on the measure's passage.
"The funding measure, which was easily approved in the Assembly Thursday, will now head to Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed lawmakers to approve it. In all, the state Legislature this week authorized the issuance of $4.6 billion in state bond funds - about half of the $9.9 billion approved by voters in 2008 - and opened the door for California to obtain $3.3 billion in federal grants, for a total of $7.9 billion in spending."

Had the 21 votes in the Senate not materialized, California would have followed in the footsteps of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida where new Republican governors rejected Federal high speed rail funds. In California, new Democrat governor, Jerry Brown, supported the project as did his precessor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. It would have been a Democrat-majority state legislature that would have rejected the massive project.

Thanks to Scott Shackford

Full Story:
Published on Friday, July 6, 2012 in Capitol Alert (Sacramento Bee blog)
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