An artist's rendition courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority shows a high speed train in a station in the Bay Area in California. (Photo : REUTERS/California High-Speed )
The California Senate on Friday gave a nod to begin the construction of a high-speed railway that would ultimately connect various cities between the metropolitan cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco
The state's Senate vote of 21-16 in favor of the bill, cleared way for the 1st round funding of the project that would include the rendering of $2.6 billion in state bonds and $3.2 billion from Federal funding to build an initial 130-mile stretch of high-speed railway.
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Democrats applauded the approval claiming it would help the State battle its current 10.8 percent unemployment rate and would give the most populous state in the U.S. another alternative for transportation.
The project which is estimated to generate a $68 billion tab was formerly planned for a 2020 completion and a $33 billion price tag when the project was first approved by California voters in 2008. However, the LA Times reports that when the recession struck the same year, the project started facing delays while the prices quickly rose.
"In 2008, California voters decided to create jobs and modernize our state's rail transportation system with a major investment in high-speed rail and key local projects in Northern and Southern California. The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again," said California Governor Jerry Brown in a statement after the vote was completed.
The construction of project was set to begin on September of 2012 but now the date remains unknown.
The high-speed rail system would permit trains to travel at speeds up to 220 mph or 350 km/h.
The completion date for the project is expected to be around 2028.