California state senators on Friday gave the go ahead for the California High-Speed Rail by voting to approve the initial funds of the proposed $68 billion plan ().
The approved funds will cover only the initial phase of the project, a stretch of track in California's Central Valley.
Project proponents, like California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Chair Dan Richard, argue the benefits of having the rail system.
"Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level," Richards said. ""This plan will improve mobility for commuters and travelers alike, reduce emissions, and put thousands of people to work while enhancing our economic competitiveness.”
Meanwhile, detractors argue the project is too costly, especially for a state that's already in financial trouble and will begin in an area that's one of the least populated in the state and where demand for public transportation isn't very high compared to other areas.
Even chair of the high-speed rail committee, Sen. Joseph Simitian (D-Palo Alto), voted against the project.
"This is the wrong plan in the wrong place in the wrong time," Simitian said on the Senate floor.
A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found 59 percent of voters across the state say that if the 2008 initiative were placed back on the ballot, they would vote against it. Those polled also said they would halt public barrowing for the project if they could and that would seldom use the service.
But we want to know what people in the Valley think. Do you support California High-Speed Rail? If you don't support the current plans, would you support a high-speed rail system at all? What changes would you make? Let us know in the comments.