State Senate approves high-speed rail construction

Controversial $68b bullet train gets OK for first section, but still faces fight.

The Sacramento BeeJuly 6, 2012 

SACRAMENTO -- By a bare majority, the state Senate voted Friday to approve initial construction of California's $68 billion high-speed rail project, ending months of intense lobbying and uncertainty in the Legislature.

The approval was a major legislative victory for Gov. Jerry Brown, who lobbied lawmakers before the vote and celebrated with Democratic legislative leaders off the Senate floor immediately after.

The outcome was uncertain as recently as hours before the vote. With all 15 Republican senators opposing the measure and several Democratic lawmakers wavering, the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg scrambled to muster at least 21 of 25 Democratic votes.

Twenty-one Democratic senators voted "Yes." The final vote was registered as 21-16, following Thursday's 51-27 margin in the Assembly.

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