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Californians May Vote On Moving High-Speed Rail Cash To Water Projects

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.

• READ MORE: California High-Speed Rail Segment May Need $150 Million For Overruns

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.


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