California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Monday approved a petition that would allow voters to decide whether they want the state to move forward with its $98 billion high-speed rail project.
The "No Train Please Act," submitted by Beverly Hills resident Peter Seidel, would kill the entire bullet train plan should a majority of Californians vote "yes" in November. First Seidel must gather 807,615 signatures by June 21 in order for the measure to qualify for state ballot.
The initiative would both block federal funding for the train and demolish the California High Speed Rail Authority.
California voters approved initial funding for the project, an ambitious plan to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles via high-speed train, in 2008. But skeptics have ballooned since its inception, claiming the project is too expensive and convoluted for the state, which currently faces a $13 billion deficit. A field poll conducted in December suggested a majority of state voters want a re-vote on the issue.
Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to champion the project, touting its potential to create jobs and place California at the forefront of innovation.
"A lot of people want to turn off the lights. I'm not one of them," he said earlier this month. "We're going to build, we're going to invest, and California is going to stay up among the great states and the great political jurisdictions of the world."
The increasingly troubled High Speed Rail Authority lost its CEO on January 13.