California is to get the first bullet train network in the United States, with trains capable of 350 kilometers per hour to whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under two and half hours, dpa reported.
California voter approval of a 9.95-billion-dollar bond in Tuesday's elections allows work to begin on the 44-billion-dollar high-speed rail project, which is expected to go into operation by 2020.
The first stage linking the two largest cities in the state will cost 32 billion dollars, with an extra 12 billion for the construction of extensions to cities like San Diego and Sacramento. More money is expected to come from the federal government and private investors.
The California High Speed Rail Authority estimates that 117 million passengers will use the high speed rail network by 2030. Backers have claimed the project will create 160,000 construction jobs and eventually 450,000 jobs in other industries that benefit from the transit network. It would also have an enormous environmental impact by dramatically reducing road and air traffic in the most populous state in the country.
The technology for the new system is expected to come from Europe or Japan.
Currently, the only other US high-speed rail is the Acela line between the East Coast cities of Washington, Boston and New York. Those trains run on conventional rail lines at an average speed of only 135 kilometers per hour.