Cash-strapped California approves billions for high-speed rail line

California lawmakers approved billions of dollars Friday in construction financing for the initial segment of the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The move marked a major political victory for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration, which have promoted bullet trains as job generators and clean transportation alternatives.

The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. That will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.

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