Officials have recommended the first tracks be built between Borden, south of Madera and Corcoran, south of Fresno.
Opponents, including Central Valley Congressman Dennis Cardoza, say the plan is a gross misuse of taxpayer funds. He's asking federal authorities to intervene.
The $43 billion project is supposed to eventually connect San Francisco and Anaheim. But plans to start the project in the Bay Area were undermined by Peninsula opponents who threatened to delay the project in court.