Governor, lawmakers working to shelve $11 billion water bond

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The governor and the legislature are working to pull back an $11 billion water bond they’d planned to place on the November statewide ballot.

The measure’s imminent death may generate the same mixed reactions as its creation.

The amount of the water bond grew by 30 percent or more as it moved through the legislature picking up more and more projects to fund. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bipartisan group of legislators barnstormed the state to win support, and it worked.

But when other measures – like the effort to roll back state greenhouse gas laws – made the ballot too, the governor said he realized the timing wasn’t right.

Metropolitan Water District chair Tim Brick said the news disappointed him. Central Valley lawmakers and water district officials say delaying the bond is a bad idea because it would boost money for infrastructure the state historically hasn’t fully funded.

Opponents of the bond who’ve said it’s stuffed with pork now say they want a November vote on it. They like their prospects of defeating it in this economic climate.

The legislators who placed the water bond package on November’s ballot will need a two-thirds vote to remove it. The governor has said he wants to delay the measure for two years.