High-speed rail project still has sweeping support

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California voters still support efforts to move forward with the state’s high-speed rail project, with job creation cited as the main reason for backing the undertaking.

A survey conducted by a private firm at the behest of the California High-Speed Rail Authority found 34 percent of respondents said they would like to see the project move forward as quickly as possible and 42 percent said they support the project, despite concerns about cost and timing. Thirteen percent of the respondents said they did not support the project, with the remaining 11 percent saying they did not have an opinion either way.

When asked to rank the benefits of the project, 83 percent of respondents said job creation was the most important. Stimulating the economy, reducing congestion and decreasing air pollution also were cited as important.

The $42 billion high-speed rail project, which is scheduled to be fully operational in 2020, is projected to carry passengers from Anaheim to San Francisco in just over 2½ hours. The project has come under criticism, including a scathing review from the state auditor that found the authority displayed lax oversight, weak management and inadequate planning.

The survey, which reached out to more than 800 registered California voters, has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. It was the first opinion poll conducted since voters approved a $9.95 billion bond measure for the project in 2008.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

This article was corrected Thursday, July 29, 2010. The original article stated the high-speed rail project cost $18 billion. The actual price is $42 billion.

 

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