Southland bullet train gets green light

LOS ANGELES It will be paid for, in part, with federal stimulus funds. Rail officials expect it to be ready for construction by 2012.

The Los Angeles to Anaheim high-speed train is just one of a list of projects approved by the /*Rail Authority*/'s board of directors, who are in charge of planning a /*high-speed train*/ network from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento through Los Angeles.

The request for funding will be included in the state's official proposal for a share of the $8 billion reserved for high-speed and intercity rail under the federal /*economic stimulus package*/. States must submit their requests by August 1. Preliminary engineering and environmental work for the projects must be completed for them to qualify.

Board Chairman Quentin Kopp says California's project is well ahead of other states, so it has a good chance of getting federal money.

"Ours is the only one with billions of dollars in voter-approved state funding committed to the project, with environmental clearances already in place and with construction elements already to go," Kopp explained.

Last November, California approved /*Proposition 1A*/, a $9.95 billion bond measure to fund rail projects, including the high speed rail network.

The state needs an estimated $33 billion in federal and local funding to complete the rail project.

The system is designed to cover 800 miles, with trains running at speeds of more than 220 mph. Rail officials say the high-speed train trip between L.A. and San Francisco would take just 2.5 hours.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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