California Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, signed a bill into law Wednesday authorizing some $8 billion in funding for a controversial high-speed rail project.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday morning authorizing the beginning stages of construction on California's high-speed rail.
The bill approved by the legislature earlier this month will authorize $5.8 billion in state and federal funds to be spent on the $68 billion project, according the Sacramento Bee.
Though the plan faces legal challenges, it puts money into the pockets of San Diego's transportation industry.
Specificially, $58 million will go into improving the Blue Line trolley system, which has the highest ridership of any transit system in San Diego, according to Linda Culp with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).
Another $18 million will go toward positive trail control for the North County Transit District. The money will fund new technology to keep trains safe, Culp said.
In the future, about $56 million will be split between the four southern California counties for a connection between Los Angeles and San Diego.
The region would also see some indirect benefits from the bill's implementation, Culp said.
Los Angeles' Metrolink shares tracks with Amtrak, which runs to San Diego. The Metrolink will receive some funding from the bill.
Also, transportation leaders throughout the state signed a pledge to find additional funding for other transit improvements. Those changes haven't been identified yet, but Culp said they would likely go toward the coastal corridor.
The first stage of the railway's construction will take place in the Central Valley, linking Merced to the San Fernando Valley. It will ultimately connect California from Los Angeles to San Francisco. That trip will take about two-and-a-half hours.
“This legislation will help put thousands of people in California back to work,” said Brown in a written statement. “By improving regional transportation systems, we are investing in the future of our state and making California a better place to live and work.”
The first stages of the construction will create the equivalent of 20,000 full-time jobs annually, starting next year, according to the Governor's office.