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Congress cuts future funding for California's bullet train

November 18, 2011

The U.S. Senate approved a package of legislation Thursday night that eliminates future funding for high-speed rail projects, including the California bullet train.

The vote, coming after a similar vote in the House of Representatives, leaves the future of the ambitious state project to create a new rail system from Southern California to the Bay Area uncertain. The state has less than 15% of the funds needed for the $98.5-billion project.

Gov. Jerry Brown said last week that he will launch the project next year despite the prospect of a federal funding cutoff, using only the money the state has in hand. The existing funds include $3.3 billion from prior federal grants and as much as $9 billion in state bond funds that were approved by voters in 2008.

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But the vote Thursday appears to signal that unless the political makeup of Congress changes in coming elections, California may not get any additional funds for the project.

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-- Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

Photo: A mock-up of the California high-speed rail system. Credit: California High Speed Rail Authority

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