Gordon Tokumatsu, Angie Moriconi
An $8 billion high-speed rail financing plan is headed to the state Senate, where officials predict it will have a tougher time than it did in the state Assembly. High-speed rail proponents say they know they still have a long way to go before a bullet train cruises down the state. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on July 5, 2012.
The California Assembly approved an $8 billion high-speed rail financing plan on Thursday, but the plan will likely will face a tougher vote in the state Senate.
It is perhaps the most contentious part of the high-speed train debate in California. With cost in the $68 billion range, the plan to link LA and San Francisco with "bullet trains" is a hard sell during these budget challenged times.
Despite Republicans voting in a solid "no" block on Thursday, the State Assembly approved the $8 billion financing plan with construction set for early next year.
Now the plan heads to the State Senate.
"It's definitely big," said Dennis Lytton with Californians for High Speed Rail.
But even rail supporters admit they have a long way to go.
Voters approved an initial spending plan in 2008. About $10 billion is slated to begin the process with the federal government tossing in $3 billion more in stimulus money if construction starts in the Central Valley.
"We want to produce, within the next several months, thousands of good jobs where they’re badly needed," Lytton said.