High-speed rail funding poised for approval

Even though Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers failed this week to reach a deal on public worker pensions, the Legislature may be ready to approve billions of dollars in spending on high-speed rail and related projects.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) told reporters on Tuesday that lawmakers would vote on the funding this week.

Legislative approval would be a victory for Brown, who has championed high-speed rail despite uniform opposition from Republicans and scattered concerns among Democrats.

Brown has planned to start the project with 130 miles of rail in the Central Valley, stretching from Bakersfield to Madera. But some Democratic state senators have suggested it would be better to start in wealthier, more-populous areas such as San Francisco or Los Angeles.

"We are close. It’s a tight vote," Steinberg said, later adding, "We’re working to get the votes."

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-- Patrick McGreevey and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times

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