Half-speed progress on high-speed rail

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By Steven T. Jones
The Legislature is poised to rebuke Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's obstructionism on creating a much-needed high-speed rail system for California. As Guardian readers know, the California High Speed Rail Authority had asked for a $103 million budget allocation this year to move the project forward in advance of next year's planned bond measure, but Arnold only offered them $1.2 million in his budget. Since then, the Assembly (where SF's Fiona Ma has been championing the project) approved a $51 million budget for the agency, while the Senate voted for give it $40 million. A conference committee will determine the actual budget amount, likely somewhere between those figures. It's a good sign, particularly if the Legislature holds firm and refuses the governor's request to indefinitely postpone the $10 billion high-speed rail bond issue now set of the November 2008 ballot.