But with federal funds involved, the state has had to make concessions in some aspects of the project.
The U.S. government has insisted that construction on the bullet train line start in the state's Central Valley, a highly agrarian middle swath of the state home to farms and ranches.
That insistence has irritated both lawmakers from urban centers in coastal northern and southern California, as well as farmers who described the project as an "imminent threat" to some of the most agriculturally productive land in the United States.
"In the past, California Farm Bureau has said we support the concept of high-speed rail as long as it conserves irreplaceable farmland, avoids premature conversion of farmland for urban sprawl, and complies with established environmental law," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said on Tuesday.
"As of now, the proposed system does not meet any of those goals and we can't support it until it does," he added. Wenger said the proposed line would cut through farmland, rural roads, and key irrigation canals.
Critics worry that should the first round of construction proceed in the Central Valley only to see funding to later run dry, California would have spent billions to build a "train to nowhere."
The Legislative Analyst's Office said the California High-Speed Rail Authority had "not made a strong enough case for going forward with the project at this time" in a report published in April, and noted that the source of funding for the project beyond Friday's initial round is "highly uncertain."
Other bullet train projects have fared poorly. Last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a high-speed line between Tampa and Orlando, saying it would put the state on the hook for billions of dollars it did not have.
Ohio and Wisconsin also rejected federal funds for high speed rail projects.