We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Initiative Shifts High-Speed Rail Bonds To Water Projects

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Location of a proposed reservoir area.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Two Republican elected officials have submitted a 2016 ballot measure that would shift $8 billion in unspent high-speed rail bond funds to water storage projects.

The initiative by Sen. Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) and Board of Equalization member George Runner is a direct challenge to the high-speed rail project championed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Huff says he supported the high-speed rail bonds approved by voters in 2008 – but that’s not the project getting built now.

“It’s a lot more expensive, it’s gonna take a lot more taxpayer money to build it, and it’s not high-speed. And instead, we’re building this thing where nobody wants it and it’s been very divisive,“ Huff says. “So I believe the voters would agree, let’s take this money and put it somewhere where we actually know there’s an infrastructure need, and that’s water.”

The measure would put a newly-created board appointed by regional water agencies in charge of spending the money – as well as another $2.7 billion already set aside for storage projects in the water bond California voters approved last year.

A separate initiative has already qualified for the ballot that challenges the governor’s other big infrastructure project – two water delivery tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Brown’s office has said he “strongly opposes” that initiative.

The governor has $20 million in his campaign account that he could use to fight these ballot measures.

 Election 2016

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.