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FROM THIS EPISODE

California voters have approved high-speed rail, and the first leg of a new system will spend $5.5 billion to go from Shafter to Madera. What happened to Los Angeles and San Francisco? We talk to the Vice Chair of the High Speed Rail Authority and a skeptical legislator.  Also, from a chilly summer to a fall heat wave to the wettest December on record, it turns out that Easterners are wrong after all.  Los Angeles does have weather.  On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the New START treaty was ratified by the Senate today by a vote of 71 to 26. But that comfortable margin does not reflect the continuing debate on reducing nuclear weapons. We hear some of the pros and cons.

Producers:
Darrell Satzman
Julia Flucht
Andrea Brody

Reporter's Notebook Mild Southern California's Wild 2010 Weather 11 MIN, 17 SEC

This summer in Southern California was unusually cool. Fall brought a heat wave featuring the hottest day ever recorded in downtown LA. Forecasters predicted a dry winter. Bill Patzert is a climatologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada-Flintridge.

Guests:
Bill Patzert, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (@NASAJPL)

Main Topic First Leg of High-Speed Rail to Connect Central Valley Dots 24 MIN, 9 SEC

map.jpgThanks to Wisconsin and Ohio refusing to take federal money, the first leg of California's High Speed Rail system will be 58 miles longer than originally planned. Instead of going just 65 miles, it will go all the way from from Shafter to Madera, at a total cost of $5.5 billion. We talk to Tom Umberg, Vice Chair of the High Speed Rail Authority, and skeptical State Senator Alan Lowenthal.

Guests:
Tom Umberg, California High Speed Rail Authority
Alan Lowenthal, Chairman, State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee

Main Topic Nuclear Weapons and the Politics of National Security

The New START treaty was ratified by the Senate today, 71 to 26.  President Obama said the lopsided vote was evidence that bipartisanship is possible.

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