SAN FRANCISCO, March 21 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
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
"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
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
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.