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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

California senator, former congressman advance proposal to prevent issuance of HSR bonds


Last week, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced proponents of a ballot measure to prevent the issuance of future high-speed rail bonds can begin collecting signatures.

Republican state Sen. Doug LaMalfa and former U.S. Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) have proposed the initiative, which would prevent the issuance and sale of the remaining amount of high-speed rail bonds previously approved by voters to help finance the construction of a statewide high-speed rail system. The initiative also would enable the California Legislature to redirect any unspent high-speed rail bond proceeds from high-speed purposes to pay the outstanding bonds.

California’s legislative analyst and director of finance have estimated that not using the bond funds for high-speed rail would save up to $709 million annually in state debt service. However, there also would be an “unknown reduction” in state and local revenues due to a “somewhat lower level of economic activity in the state over the next several years,” since the state would lose matching funds from the federal government and potential private investors, according to a press release from the secretary of state’s office.

LaMalfa and Radanovich must collect more than 500,000 signatures from registered voters by Aug. 13 in order for the measure to qualify for the ballot.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/20/2012