After two hours of debate, the California Senate voted to continue the California High Speed Rail project by the narrowest of margins.
As expected, the entire Republican contingent spoke and voted against the project in this afternoon’s critical vote. Of the 25 Democrat Senators, DeSaulnier, Lowenthal, Simitian and Pavley voted NO on the measure, while the remainder voted in favor of the project giving the bill exactly the 21 votes needed for passage.
The state Assembly passed HSR funding yesterday. The bill next goes to the Governor’s desk, where Jerry Brown is expected to sign it. This measure approves the issuance of $2.6 billion in state bonds to fund the initial construction of the rail line that eventually will link Los Angeles with the San Francisco area. This allows the state to receive $3.2 billion in matching Federal funds.
$1.9 billion will go to improving local rail transportation throughout California, with $600 million earmarked for Caltrain electrification.
Although Senator Leland Yee expressed doubts about the plan, he eventually voted in favor of the plan. “Just cast an aye vote for #CAHSR,” he tweeted immediately after the vote. “A flawed plan is better than no plan. Project will bring needed jobs to #SF and #SanMateo County.”
Lee’s Democrat Party Bay Area colleagues from the Peninsula and Contra Costa — Joe Simitian and Mark DeSaulnier — joined Long Beach Senator Alan Lowenthal and Beverly Hills Senator Fran Pavley in voting against the bill.