California and federal officials signed off Sunday on a deal for $86.4 million to begin construction in the Valley on the state's high-speed train system.
The federal stimulus money is part of $300 million that was diverted to the central San Joaquin Valley in May after Florida rejected its share of high-speed rail funds.
The money will be combined with about $15 million in matching funds that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is putting up from Proposition 1A, a 2008 high-speed rail bond.
So far, the Federal Railroad Administration has pledged almost $3.5 billion to California's high-speed rail project. The addition of Prop. 1A money brings to about $6.3 billion the amount that the state has available to start construction in late 2012.
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The federal money comes with strings that require it to be spent on planning and construction in the central San Joaquin Valley -- a stretch from Merced to Bakersfield that officials say will be the testing ground for trains capable of traveling at up to 220 mph.
The high-speed rail authority will release draft environmental reports this week for its Merced-to-Fresno and Fresno-to-Bakersfield sections.