Senate passes high-speed rail funding, which now goes to governor

The state Senate voted to fund California's ambitious high-speed rail project on Friday, handing a major victory to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration.

The $8-billion legislation will fund the project's first stretch, covering 130 miles from Madera to Bakersfield.

The project had become increasingly controversial as Democratic senators from around San Francisco and Los Angeles asked why construction was was set to start with a 130-mile stretch in the Central Valley.

"The ridership is not in the Central Valley," said Sen. Leland Yee (D- San Francisco), speaking Thursday night. "The ridership is along the 101 corridor," referring to the U.S. highway stretching from the Bay Area to Los Angeles.

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-- Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times

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