Californians uneasy about rail project, water bond -survey

SAN FRANCISCO, March 21 Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:59am EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 21 (Reuters) - Fewer than half of likely voters in California favor building a planned $68 billion high-speed rail system and support an $11.1 billion water bond scheduled for the state's 2014 ballot, according to results of a survey released on Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey found 43 percent of likely voters supporting the rail project, approved by voters in 2008 when they endorsed a bond measure that would provide nearly $10 billion in general obligation bond financing for the project, and 54 percent opposed.

"When those who are opposed are asked how they would feel if the cost were lower, overall support rises to 55 percent," a statement by the institute said.

California officials on Monday approved the sale of $8.6 billion in bonds to help build the rail system, which is intended to link the most populous U.S. state's far-flung metropolitan areas.

Planners are also counting on federal funds and money from the private sector for the massive project. Construction of its first leg is scheduled to begin later this year in the state's Central Valley.

Support for the water bond stands 42 percent of likely voters while 51 percent oppose it.

"When those who plan to vote 'no' are asked how they would vote if the bond were a smaller amount, overall support increases to 55 percent," the institute's statement said.

California's leaders last year removed the water bond from last November's ballot in order to put it to a statewide vote in 2014, marking the second time they postponed it.

The measure for the bond was painstakingly crafted in 2009 under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to address environmental concerns and the needs of residential water users as the state's farming industry.

The institute's survey findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,138 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from March 5-12 in English or Spanish, according to respondents' preferences. The sampling error is plus or minus 4.6 percent.

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Comments (3)
Qdcraw wrote:
This thing would make the money back 4x’s over. I’m only concerned about earthquakes.

Mar 21, 2013 2:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Taxpayer123 wrote:
Socialists only feel good about money being spent on illegal aliens and welfare recipients not capital improvements

Mar 21, 2013 7:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
WoobieKing wrote:
High-speed trains are just slow airliners. HSR advocates often say that you have to account for travel time to and from airports, but what about travel time to and from the train stations? The argument about HSR taking people right into city centers is nothing more than a conceit that downtowns are the only places where people should want to go for any reason. And that 68 BILLION dollar estimate needs a couple of zeroes added to it.

Mar 21, 2013 10:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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