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Assembly Approves High-Speed Rail Bonds; Senate Fate Unclear

The California Assembly has approved using more than four-and-a-half billion dollars in voter-approved bonds for the state’s embattled high-speed rail project.

A vote in the State Senate is expected Friday – but the project’s chances there are far from clear. Several Democratic senators have raised sharp questions, and Republicans are united in opposition.

The legislation authorizing the bonds would spend nearly two billion dollars more than originally proposed. Authority Board Chair Dan Richard said the extra money will go toward regional projects in Northern and Southern California.

“Upgrading CalTrain in the Bay Area, replacing BART cars, building the Central Subway system in San Francisco, building the regional interconnector in Los Angeles, these are top priority projects,” said Richard.

Critics have blasted the project as a “train to nowhere” and questioned the High-Speed Rail Authority’s cost and ridership projections.

Richard said the project will fail without legislative approval this week.

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