California High-Speed Rail Authority Approves New Business Plan

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The authority overseeing efforts to build a high-speed rail system in California has approved its revised business plan, sending the ambitious project to an uncertain fate in the Legislature.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority voted 6-0 on Thursday, with one member absent, to approve its latest plan. Two hours of public comment preceded the vote, most of it favorable toward the bullet train.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Potential riders like Dan Cohen said they look forward to the day when Los Angeles isn’t a plane ride or a long car ride away.

“The choices available right now are daunting in terms of boarding a plane and going through security or taking a six-hour car drive. To be able to just hop on a train and ride, as what you experience in Europe, is great,” he said.

Current plans call for connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles through the Central Valley.

Union members touted the project as a way to create much-needed jobs in a state that has battled double-digit unemployment for years, while critics targeted the project’s $68.4 billion price. That amount is $23 billion more than the amount sold to voters when they authorized the project in 2008.

The Legislature has until Aug. 31 to authorize the bond sale that would get the project started.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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