California Gov. Jerry Brown scored a major triumph last week when the Democratic-dominated state senate gave its blessings to the nation‚??s first high-speed rail line, but controversy still rages over the $68 billion project throughout the debt-wracked Golden State. The close vote by the state senate to spend $8 billion in federal and state money enables California is now able to tap into $3.2 billion in federal bond money.
Although state voters in ‚??08 approved the 520-mile rail line that could eventually link northern and southern California, the project has now fallen into disfavor because of controversy over land use, environmental concerns, and worries that the revenue will not be there to complete it.
The rail line has also spilled over into the race for Congress in the open seat in the 26th District, where GOP state Sen. Tony Strickland helped lead the anti-rail line forces and Democratic State Assemblywoman Julia Brownley is a supporter.