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Structures 2011

High-speed rail Program Manager, Hans Van Winkle, addresses the group on the future of California’s project. Photo by California High-Speed Rail Authority

Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plan to start building the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line is set for a pivotal vote by the Legislature this week with some state lawmakers still skeptical about spending billions in the Central Valley.

The Democratic governor is pushing lawmakers to authorize $2.7 billion in voter-approved state bonds for construction on the first 130-mile stretch of high-speed rail from Madera to Bakersfield. Brown has made the massive infrastructure project one of his priorities for the year and says the state has to act fast in order to capture billions of dollars in additional federal support.