Lawmaker looks to stop bond sales for California's high-speed rail system

January 11
1:06 AM 2014

The latest move by critics to derail California's ambitious high-speed rail system comes from a Republican California lawmaker who has proposed a measure that seeks to halt bond sales for the project, Reuters reported. A priority undertaking of Governor Jerry Brown, the rail system would quickly transport passengers through the San Joaquin Valley as they commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The rail is also set to reach San Diego and Sacramento later on as well, the report said.

The estimated cost of the undertaking is $68 billion but it has been ridden with controversy. Questions about the rail's planned routes, commuter estimates and projected expenses have been raised, the report said. Although it is still not sure if the measure put forward by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell will be eligible for a statewide ballot, the report said it targeted the possible discontent of voters on the project.

The measure said, "California cannot afford to pay for a high-speed train system that will cost more than $100 billion at a time when prisoners are being released from prisons and taxpayers are being asked to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for basic services."

In November, a judge ruled against California's plans to issue bonds worth over $8 billion to finance the project, the report said. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney ruled that there was only scant information to back a decision by the authority managing the project to proceed with the sale of the bonds.

Brown and other supporters of the project contend that the rail network will give jobs to the state. It will also transform the transportation infrastructure of the state by connecting distant metropolitan areas.

The measure would ask the voters not to approve more bond sales for the rail system. In 2008, the state's voters gave their approval to general obligation bonds worth almost $10 billion to help finance the building of the project, the report said.

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