Initiative to Kill Calif. High-Speed Rail Approved for Signature-Gathering

Fmr. Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during his inspection of Japan's high-speed train operations in Tokyo in 2010. (Photo: SHUJI KAJIYAMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Backers of an initiative that would bar the collection and spending of high-speed rail bond money and effectively shut down the project in California can now begin collecting signatures to get on the ballot, according to the Secretary of State's office.

The initiative proponents are two Republican legislators, State Senator Doug LaMalfa, who represents the 4th District, and former Central Valley Congressman George Radanovich, who represented the 19th Congressional District until the last session.

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The earliest the measure could appear on the ballot is November 2014, but Radanovich says it could still stop construction crews from breaking ground in Fresno later this year.

"I think it's going to put the fear of god in a lot of people that would be contracting to move anything forward in fear those contracts would be in jeopardy," he told KFSN-TV in Fresno.

An earlier version of the initiative was approved for circulation back in March, but it was apparently scrapped in order to introduce two new provisions. First, the new version explicitly prohibits the state from incurring any additional debt, accepting or using federal funds, providing or using any state funds, or accepting any local funds in relation to the high-speed rail project. Second, it terminates all agreements relating to the project other than those involving the repayment of bonds already issued.

The first version would have stopped the issuance of future bonds and provided for the redirection of any unspent money.

Radanovich filed paperwork this week to create a fundraising committee. The campaign has already received $25,000 startup money from Silicon Valley investor Tench Coxe.

About the Author

Web Editor for SoCal Connected, KCET's award-winning television newsmagazine. He has worked in just about every medium, with stories appearing on TV, radio, Web, and print. He is also the editor of the Online Journalism Review at ...
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