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California bullet train on the slow track

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on May 16.)

SACRAMENTO -- Legislation that would delay a public vote on a $9.95 billion high-speed rail bond measure for another two years was approved Tuesday by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

An 11-1 vote sent the bill by Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the last stop before the full Senate.

The bond measure would provide about half the funding needed to build a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

It originally was put on the November 2004 ballot by lawmakers, then was pushed back to this year’s November ballot. Torrico’s bill would postpone the vote until November 2008.

He said the high-speed rail measure would have a better chance of passing in 2008, when it wouldn’t be in competition with a $37.3 billion public works bond package approved by lawmakers earlier this month.

Torrico also said lawmakers were discussing how to provide about $116 million the state would need to complete engineering work and begin buying right of way for high-speed rail over the next two years.

Eventually, the project would link San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento and the San Francisco area with trains running at top speeds of more than 200 mph.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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