High-Speed Rail Project Takes Big Steps Forward - FOX 35 News Orlando

California High-Speed Rail

High-Speed Rail Project Takes Big Steps Forward

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Los Angeles, CA -

(KTTV) The state's controversial high-speed rail project took a couple of big steps forward Monday, even as pending lawsuits threaten to derail the $68 billion project before it even breaks ground.

The Rail Authority voted to issue nearly $9 billion taxpayer-approved bonds, and the authority okayed spending almost one billion to improve the rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose that will eventually be linked to the high-speed rail.  

With members voting by teleconference, the rail authority voted 5-0 without debate with one member absent. On the a resolution to sell that $9 billion dollars in bonds to help pay for the initial phase of the project -- starting in the state's central valley -- maybe this year, maybe not.

And the San Fran to San Jose line -- called Caltrain -- will be upgraded. That's part of the deal that voters okayed back in 2008 when we approved high-speed rail. That is being challenged in court, with critics saying it violates the law because it's not really high-speed rail. The rail authority now calls that their ''blended '' system.

Some of those who went to Monday's meeting questioned where the whole project is going. One critic quetsioned why the board authorized so much bond money before it's needed; wondering whether the board was rushing to beat the outcome of the lawsuits attempting to block the whole project.

The Rail Authority said they're merely being "efficient" by authorizing all the bonds now, so it would not have to do it again down the road.

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