High speed rail on track - Page 4

Bay Area alignment chosen as project heads to voters this November
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Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) was willing to cross party lines, Capitol sources told the Guardian.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen had set a deadline of July 15 for substituting the new language in Prop. 1, so at Guardian press time it appeared the old language would remain in place, which Kopp said was acceptable and probably wouldn't hurt the project.

Meanwhile, a project opponent, Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), sought to kill Prop. 1 by doing what's known as a "gut and amend" to an unrelated bill, SB 298 by Senate Minority Leader Dave Codgill (R-Modesto), in an attempt to push the bond measure back to 2010.

If he can find the two-thirds vote in both houses — which most sources consider unlikely — it would be the fourth time the bond measure has been delayed. So barring any unusual political deals, the high speed bond measure is still up in November.

If a majority of voters approve Prop. 1, the CHSRA would begin negotiating rights-of-way and working on final technical studies. Construction could begin as early as 2010, although completion could take up to 10 years.

In the meantime, CHSRA unanimously voted to work with regional rail agencies such as BART to create a rail system over Altamont. As Morshed said, "We need to immediately start working on the Altamont corridor and find a solution to that."

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