California's High Speed Rail Board has approved the second leg of the controversial project.
The board overseeing the $68 billion rail project unanimously voted to adopt the 114-mile stretch between Fresno and Bakersfield.
The plan now moves on for federal review.
"This will be a tremendous boom to the Valley. And the benefits of this will tremendously outweigh the costs," Board Chairman Dan Richards said.
Richards was addressing the concerns by opponents, who expressed their views at a public hearing Tuesday night.
The document approved last night includes plans to address air quality during construction, add green space to compensate for damaged habitat and prevent the spread of the highly contagious fungal disease known as Valley fever.