SACRAMENTO, CA - A petition for a ballot initiative to abolish the California High-Speed Rail Authority was approved for circulation Tuesday.
The measure seeks voter approval of a constitutional amendment to eliminate the body tasked with overseeing a high speed rail system linking Northern California to Southern California. Voters in Nov. 2010 passed Proposition authorizing $9.95 in general obligation bonds to get the project underway. However, in recent months, the project has come under increasing criticism for the planned route, costs and management. The Authority CEO resigned earlier this month.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority was established in 1996.
The proposed initiative reads: ELIMINATION OF CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Eliminates High Speed Rail Authority. Bars the State of California from paying for high speed rail unless the people pass a new constitutional amendment specifically altering this prohibition. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State debt service savings of up to $650 million annually from not using state bond funds to support high speed rail. A one-time loss of $3.3 billion in federal funds would reduce somewhat the level of economic activity in the state over the next several years, resulting in some reduction in state and local revenues.
Peter Seidel, the initiative author, has until June 21, 2012, to collect 807,615 signatures from registered voters to submit it to be qualified for the Nov. 6, 2012 General Election ballot.