Republican state Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Oroville) is collecting signatures, hoping to get a measure on the ballot that will prevent the state from issuing bonds to help pay for the so-called "bullet train" plan.
But a political rival says it's really about LaMalfa's campaign for Congress in Northern California.
"There's no chance of this getting on the ballot," said Democratic Party strategist Steve Maviglio. "This is all about a man trying to get traction to run for Congress to show he can cut government spending, and that's why he's doing it."
An initiative campaign would cost about $30 million. Governor Jerry Brown hopes to unveil a new and less costly high-speed rail plan next month.