It turns out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s vow earlier this month not to sign any more bills until lawmakers pass a budget had a big loophole — he will sign bills if he actually likes them.

Schwarzenegger formalized his flip-flop Tuesday by signing a bill to modify the $9.95 billion bond measure for high-speed rail that will be on November’s statewide ballot.

There will still be a $9.95 billion bond measure to seed construction of a high-speed passenger train system linking Northern and Southern California.

But the new Proposition 1A, which replaces Proposition 1, includes additional fiscal controls, including the requirement for a peer-reviewed financial plan, the governor said. It also enables the use of public private partnership financing.

The timing mattered, because there is little room remaining to change the November ballot. Election officials expect to begin sending vote-by-mail ballots to citizens overseas, including soldiers, by late next week.

Schwarzenegger said the high-speed rail bill is one of four that are so important that he will sign them despite his earlier vow.

“With our rail system in America we are still in the dark ages,” he said at a news conference Wednesday. “We are still traveling at the same speeds as 100 years ago.”

Schwarzenegger also said he would sign a water bond bill, a measure asking voters to improve performance of the state lottery, and a bill asking voters to approve budget reforms and a rainy-day fund.

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