Democrats needed 21 of 25 members in the state senate to approve the bill. They got it.
There was plenty to argue about before the vote was made.
Republicans argued that the rising costs of the project have changed the minds of the people since they approved it in 2008.
Costs for the project have tripled since then.
Sen. Tony Strickland, (R) Thousand Oaks: "I believe this is a colossal fiscal train wreck for California. Members, this is spending money that we don't have. We always tell our children, our grandchildren, we tell people around that we can't spend more than you take in."
Some in the senate say voters deserve a second chance to look at High Speed Rail.
But democrats say we can't afford not to have it.
Sen. Mark Leno, (D) San Francisco: "There could not conceivably be enough freeway lanes to manage another 50% in automobiles. There couldn't possibly be enough runway space to accommodate an increase in 50% of additional air passengers. We know what we need and it is this train."
The state's population is expected to grow by 20 million in the next 20 years, and supporters say getting around the state would be more costly without High Speed Rail.
Henry Perea, Fresno County Vice Chair: "It's going to move people like we've never moved before. With a growing population, it's definitely needed, and the fact that it's going to bring thousands of jobs to the San Joaquin valley, we desperately need those jobs."
The $8 billion approved Friday will be used to start the first phase of construction in the central valley, which will connect Bakersfield to Madera.
In response to the vote, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said, "With high speed rail, the rest of California can easily access Fresno, and Fresno can easily access the other major urban areas of the state. This is great news for our economy, both in the immediate term, and in the long run."
The bill now goes to the governor's desk, where he's expected to sign it.
Construction on the first phase of the project is expected to begin by the end of the year.
Part of that $8 billion will also be used to make improvements on projects to connect local transit infrastructure to High Speed Rail.