California high-speed rail moves forward

(Photo Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority)(Photo Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority)

Work on the first portion of California’s high-speed rail can move forward after earning approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Associated Press reports.

The DOT’s decision allows the state to start acquiring land between Fresno and Bakersfield for the 114-mile route.

The federal Surface Transportation Board will need to approve the $68 billion project before construction can begin.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the approval is a “major step forward.” The controversial project has faced a number of hurdles in recent months such as design changes, a cost that has doubled, difficulties meeting required trip times and debate over when the state should be allowed to spend federal grant money on the bullet train.