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High-speed rail may be on November ballot; Gov. Brown says cost estimates too high

courtesy Caifornia High-Speed Rail Authority

California State Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) introduced legislation today that would put high-speed rail back on the ballot come November.

In a statement, LaMalfa said that "voters have been misled about the true costs of High-Speed Rail from the start. The costs have tripled since 2008 and every objective observer has said this project is too expensive and is unlikely to be completed.”

The legislation would give voters the chance to de-authorize the $9 billion bond measure, which they passed in 2008. LaMalfa spokesman Mark Spannagel told KALW that the measure would "eliminate the project." The proposal needs to be passed by both houses and signed by the governor before it goes on the ballot.

Meanwhile, in an interview in L.A. over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown said that the current estimated $100 billion price tag for the project was “way off,” and said that revenue from cap and trade regulations would help compensate for any funding gaps.

The project has so far secured about $12 billion between federal funds and the state bond measure.  The federal money comes with strings attached: construction needs to begin this year, and is required to start in the Central Valley. Though that start point is far from metropolitan centers, Brown said he would redesign the plan so that the first segment would “justify the state investment,” even if no other segments are ever built.