March 10, 2016

San Jose Mercury News: Kill high-speed rail and spend the money on reservoirs? Proposed California ballot measure sparks debate

Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to kill California’s high-speed rail project and use the money to build new reservoirs are racing to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

But the campaign, which is being bankrolled by San Joaquin Valley farmers, is already drawing fire from fellow farmers and environmentalists, who call it a “Trojan horse.”

Backers say the proposal is a common-sense idea, given the state’s drought and growing water needs for farms and cities. They say it will cut through red tape and finally halt the highly controversial bullet train project to focus on higher-priority, long-stalled water projects. Those include Sites Reservoir in Colusa County, Temperance Flat Reservoir on the San Joaquin River near Sequoia-Kings National Park and raising the height of Shasta Dam near Redding and San Luis Dam near Los Banos.

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