A strong majority of voters have turned against the project just as Gov. Jerry Brown is pressuring the Legislature to green-light the start of construction in the Central Valley later this year, a major step in the plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with high-speed rail service by about 2028.
In a state renowned for betting big on mega-infrastructure projects, including the world's most famous freeways and canals that move oceans of water across hundreds of miles, the fast-approaching decision on the bullet train project marks a historic Golden State moment.
Whether eroding public support will sway the Legislature is unclear. Brown, the Obama administration, labor unions and Democratic leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, are ramping up pressure on key state senators to cast aside doubts and commit funding this summer for an initial 130-mile section of track.