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A Republican lawmaker is criticizing California Assembly Democrats for not supporting the California High Speed Rail Funding Accountability Act.

The act bans the high speed rail authority from spending any federal funds unless matching state funds are immediately available. This week, the majority of Democrats voted against the measure in the assembly transportation committee. CTNS did not report why they were opposed to the act.

Supporters of the act said it protects California taxpayers from the financial obligation of paying for the estimated $69 billion high speed rail project.

"This multi-billion dollar project is going to fall square on the backs of taxpayers in California. And it's going to affect public safety, public works, public parks because there is a big vacuum cleaner going on," Assembly member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, said. "And that vacuum cleaner is high speed rail and it is sucking up every dollar that we can get our hands on in the state without any accountability. And it's dead wrong and this committee failed to see that they had an opportunity to hold the irrational spending of the high speed rail authority."

Last November, a judge said the high speed rail project could not use $9.9 billion in bonds to pay for the project. Gov. Jerry Brown recently proposed using cap and trade revenue to pay for the first leg of the rail line.

The rail project is supposed to stretch from Merced to the San Fernando Valley by 2022.

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