Governor Jerry Brown gave high-speed rail the official green light today, signing legislation authorizing $8 billion in initial funding for the controversial $68 billion project.
Signing ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles emphasized the political importance of the $1.9 billion allocated for improving existing commuter rail systems in these cities, the eventual “bookends” of the rail network that would connect northern and southern California.
In a statement, Governor Brown said, “By improving regional transportation systems, we are investing in the future of our state and making California a better place to live and work.”
Governor Brown had no plans to stop in the Central Valley today, where initial construction of the high-speed rail line is set to begin with federal support. The project faces strong legal opposition from farmers, agribusiness and other groups in the Valley.
Republican legislators in California roundly oppose the plan. State Senator Joel Anderson released a statement today equating approval for high-speed rail funding with slashes to education funding in the state saying, “There should be no doubt that Governor Brown has thrown our children’s education under the tracks to build this train.”