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Bond Aims To Set up High Speed Rail System

California
could get a $45 billion high speed rail system if voters approve a bond on the
November ballot.

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Plans for such a rail system have been in place since 1996,
and so far $60 million has already been spent on pre-construction efforts and
analysis.

 

The proposed high speed rail would zip passengers across California
at speeds in excess of 200 mph, linking areas like Los
Angeles, the Inland Empire, San
Francisco, Sacramento
and San Diego.

 

On the ballot, the bond is called Proposition 1A, and it
would authorize $9.95 billion to be spent for the start of construction on the
system, and would aim to kick start the drive to solicit private funds for the
remaining $35 billion.

 

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed a bill that
he claims adds taxpayer protections to the Proposition.

 

“Californians deserve the opportunity to vote on a high
speed rail proposition that includes taxpayer protections and financial
guidelines,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.  “With these technical changes,
voters can now be assured that if the bond is approved, high speed rail would
be built as planned and with fiscal controls ensuring financial accountability.”

 

According to the Governor’s office, changes include fiscal controls
for taxpayer protection including the requirement of a peer reviewed financial
plan before bond money can be spent. Additionally, they say, the measure
enables public-private partnership financing and limits the amount of bond
money that can be spent on non-construction items.

 

To read the legislative
analysis of the bill, click here.