16 JULY 2012
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California's Senate has voted to approve the first US$8bn of a US$69bn high-speed rail project that will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles and on to San Diego. It aims to relieve congestion on freeways and at airports, as well as provide faster travel on the ground between major metropolitan areas in California.
The initial 130-mile stretch, which has so far been approved, will connect Merced and Bakersfield in the Central Valley by 2017, and then either Merced and the San Fernando Valley or San Jose and Bakersfield by 2021.
When completed, the train is planned to have 800 miles of track, up to 24 stations (airport stops have been proposed), and be able to transport passengers between LA and San Francisco in just under three hours, and Los Angeles to San Diego in 80 minutes at speeds of up to 220mph. www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov
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