An executive with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority applauded the state legislature’s recent approval of funding for the first phase of a high-speed rail project from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The State Senate on July 6 voted 21-16 to authorize about $8 billion in spending on the project. The money includes $2.6 billion in rail bonds passed by California voters in 2008 and $3.2 billion in federal money for a 130-mile stretch of track from Madera to Bakersfield. The bill also included $2 billion in funding for projects in the Bay Area and L.A. County.