California’s bullet train agency today formally requested a multibillion-dollar appropriation to start construction next year, after dozens of people from across the state attacked the $98-billion project’s cost, rationale and effects on communities.

The California High Speed Rail Authority board adopted a funding plan, which seeks to tap $3.3 billion in federal grants and $2.7 billion in state bonds to begin building an initial 140-mile segment of track through the Central Valley. That non-operational segment would run mostly through farmland from Chowchilla to Bakersfield.

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