SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – This November, California voters may be asked to decide between the high speed rail project and new water storage.
The California Water Alliance is among the supporters of a proposal that would take $8 billion in high speed rail bonds and redirect that money to projects like raising Shasta Dam and expanding reservoirs.
San Jose State professor emeritus and KCBS political analyst Larry Gerston says the initiative would also rewrite state water laws.
“This isn’t just a matter of you transferring the money that we would spend on high speed rail to water. It’s a matter of making water needs for farmers and urban users permanent, leaving environmental needs out the window,” Gerston said.
Gerston said the proposal could lead to quite a political battle.
“That’s where there’s going to be a big pushback,” he said. “And environmentalists in California historically have been very strong. Environmentalists have had their way on a number of issues over the years.”
Supporters of the initiative say they have $2 million set aside to gather signatures to qualify it for the ballot.