California lawmakers have approved billions of dollars in construction financing for the first segment of what would be the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, eventually connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. The state Senate voted 21-16 on a party-line vote Friday after intense lobbying by Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic leaders and labor groups. The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $2.6 billion in voter-approved bonds to build an initial 130-miles stretch in the Central Valley. That would allow the state to collect about $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.
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