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Senate debates future of high-speed rail

The California state Senate is now debating the future of high-speed rail.

The Senate must approve an $8-billion measure, reject it or come up with a new plan for the project. The measure is backed by Gov. Jerry Brown and was approved by the State Assembly on Thursday.

Brown is seeking approval of a long-standing plan to build 130 miles of rail in the Central Valley from Bakersfield to Madera, creating the backbone of a future rail network that would later connect with Los Angeles and San Francisco.

But the plan has met growing skepticism among some legislators who say it would put the bulk of the initial funding in a low-ridership area that would have little independent value until the full system is completed. An alternative is being crafted to change the geographic distribution of the funds.

Here is live coverage from Times Sacramento Bureau reporter Chris Megerian:

California Senate debates future of high speed rail

The California state Senate is now debating the future of high speed rail.The Senate must approve an $8-billion measure, reject it or come up with a new plan for the project. The measure is backed by Gov. Jerry Brown and was approved by the state Assembly on Thursday.

Storified by LA Times - LA NOW · Fri, Jul 06 2012 15:03:44

DeSaulnier refers to Lowenthal and Simitian as "we happy few who caused all this trouble." They were the three loudest Democratic skeptics.Chris Megerian
DeSaulnier is a no vote, despite support from organized labor.Chris Megerian
Now we're hearing from DeSaulnier, another Democrat and skeptic of #CAHSR plan.Chris Megerian
Metaphor alert! Dutton: "You need to put the brakes on this runaway train."Chris Megerian
What are we seeing today? Gaines (R) says it's "California's Greek tragedy."Chris Megerian
What's the best way to invest in infrastructure? Wyland says "widen a road, improve the roads."Chris Megerian
Vargas: "California does the big things right. We mess up the little things."Chris Megerian
Simitian: "This the wrong plan in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I will be a no vote."Chris Megerian
Simitian: "There are billions of reasons none of us should simply go along with the program."Chris Megerian
Scanning Twitter, and finding some rare Republican support for Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and his skeptical speech on #CAHSRChris Megerian
Now Simitian is talking about political risks of voting for #CAHSR, which could hurt public support for Brown's tax plan.Chris Megerian
Simitian talking now. He's one of Democrats whose vote has been in question. He likes #CAHSR, but doubts plan.Chris Megerian
Let the metaphors fly! Strickland repeats phrase "fiscal train wreck."Chris Megerian
Leno says there can't be enough highways and runways to support population growth. "We know what we need, and it is this train."Chris Megerian
Steinberg promises 15,000 jobs for every $1B investment.Chris Megerian
Steinberg pushing approval. "What happens if we say no? Where are we? Are we going to fall behind the rest of the country?"Chris Megerian
Steinberg is emphasizing benefit of #CAHSR bill to local projects in SF and LA -- where most bill opponents areChris Megerian
Slow start to Senate session as Republicans try to stall #CAHSR with procedural questions.Chris Megerian
Invocation talks about the importance of taking break and returning with "renewed vigor and energy." Senate about to go on recess.Chris Megerian
Steinberg shrugs and says he doesn't know how #CAHSR vote is going to go. Session starting shortly.Chris Megerian
Steinberg: ".... Today, we have an historic opportunity to follow in their footsteps and do the same.” 2/2Chris Megerian
Steinberg: "The decision before the Senate is to stimulate our economy in the present while looking to future."Chris Megerian
 

ALSO: 

Assembly approves high-speed rail funding

Skelton: Will bullet train scuttle Jerry Brown's tax plan?

Will the state Senate vote to stop bullet train in its tracks?

 
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