Anti-HSR Initiative Fails to Qualify for Ballot
As expected, the latest effort to go back to the ballot to kill the California High Speed Rail project has failed. The California Secretary of State’s office recently announced the initiative, backed by Republican politicians Doug LaMalfa and George Radanovich, failed to gather enough signatures in the time required and will not appear on the ballot in 2014.
This is no surprise, since LaMalfa and Radanovich had no serious financial backing for their initiative, without which one simply cannot qualify an initiative for the ballot. Opponents of high speed rail trumpeted this initiative as a supposed sign of growing public hostility to the project, but the predictable failure to gather enough signatures suggests that they are completely misreading the public mood.
There’s still plenty of time for someone to gather the $2 to $3 million that would be needed just to get an initiative onto the 2014 ballot. But it seems pretty unlikely that will happen. Bids will be accepted for the first segments of the HSR project early next year, and by fall 2013 construction will be taking place near Fresno. By the fall of 2014 there will be more than enough construction going on to make it extremely unlikely that voters would be willing to pull the plug with things unfinished.