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California Approves High-Speed Rail.

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(CNN) -- California's Senate on Friday approved funding for the first chunk of a high-speed rail system that is expected to eventually link Los Angeles to San Francisco.

In a vote of 21-16, lawmakers gave the go-ahead for the issuance of $2.6 billion in bonds, while Washington will provide an additional $3.2 billion. The bill also includes close to $2 billion in funding for local projects.

"Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level. This plan will improve mobility for commuters and travelers alike, reduce emissions, and put thousands of people to work while enhancing our economic competitiveness," said Dan Richard, chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, a state agency.

The cost of the completed project is estimated at more than $68 billion. The first phase is set to be built in the state's Central Valley.

The bill heads next to the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been a staunch supporter of the project. He says it will help create jobs and modernize the state's transportation system.

Still, the project has had its fair share of critics, including John Tos, an almond farmer.

"We want them to stay off the land. It is not our intention to allow this to happen through our property. We farmed here for a reason, the tranquility of it all. This is farming country. And we want to keep it like that," he said earlier this year.

Other critics are concerned about the potential for cost overruns, and question the project's timing given the economic slump.

Joe Simitian, a Democratic senator, was among those who voted against the bill.

"The question we have to ask ourselves today, is even if you support the vision -- is this a plan that is worthy of our support?" he asked during debate.

According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the final rail line will allow passengers to zip between San Francisco and Los Angeles in less than three hours, and between Los Angeles and San Diego in 80 minutes.

Every year that the system is being built, as many as 100,000 construction-related jobs will be created, as will up to 450,000 permanent new jobs over the next 25 years, the agency says.

President Barack Obama is a big supporter of high-speed rail. His administration has proposed spending $53 billion on a national high-speed rail network, while he has set the goal of giving 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

 

 

What impact might this have on the (probably) popular high-speed rail affs?

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Well, I think it'll be good for HSR affs. It's a relatively small project, so it doesn't moot the entire area, and it'll cause an upsurge in HSR lit. It probably will give some states solvency ev, BUT like the article said, there was federal gov investment in this project, too, so the perm will also probably always solve in some particular iteration that federal investment is necessary. Overall, I think this is only positive for affs, unless you were planning on a california specific aff.

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It will just boost the affirmative for HSR because one of the major inherency arguments is that Obama is just investing a drop in the bucket, not enough for a full HSR system any time soon. This could supplement that because i guarantee a few billion will not be enough for a full California system, bringing more inherency to the investment part of the rez.

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