California makes a bid for unwanted high speed rail dollars

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California High Speed Rail Authority

An artist's rendering of California's high speed rail.

The newly-elected Republican governors of Wisconsin and Ohio say they won’t take federal dollars to help build a high speed rail line. That could mean good news for California.

Governor-elect John Kasich told President Obama to put the brakes on a 400-million dollar high speed rail project in Ohio. Wisconsin’s newly elected GOP Governor Scott Walker told Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood he’d rather spend the $800 million coming to his state on roads and bridges.

California’s two US Senators have a better idea: send the money to a state in which voters have already approved $9 billion in bonds. In a letter to Secretary LaHood, Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer say California has already demonstrated “a strong financial commitment” to high speed rail — and that places the state “in a unique position to advance this initiative quickly.”

California isn’t the only state looking for leftover loot: Illinois and New York are also angling for spare high speed rail dollars.

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