By the Daily Post staff
A new Los Angeles Times poll finds that only 31% of California voters want to continue building the high-speed rail project.
The poll, which was also sponsored by USC, said that 49% of voters support the concept of a high-speed rail system, while 43% oppose and 9% haven’t heard about it.
But when asked in a second question whether they would stop the project, given that the cost has doubled to $77 billion and the schedule has stretched to 2033, just 31% said they would keep going and 49% said they would halt construction. A sizable 19% did not know what to do about the problems.
A 2012 poll by the Times and USC just before a key vote in the Legislature to start the project rolling showed that 59% of voters opposed the bond issue that was passed in 2008 to fund the project if it were put back on the ballot. Shortly after, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a multibillion-dollar appropriation out of the bond measure to start construction.
In that July 6, 2012, vote, then-state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, opposed the bill while the area’s assemblymen at the time, Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, supported the project that was being heavily pushed by organized labor. Simitian was later termed out of the Legislature and is now a Santa Clara County Supervisor while Hill is now the state senator representing the mid-Peninsula. Gordon retired from the Legislature.
The new poll shows Bay Area voters are the train’s strongest supporters. Just 27% of poll respondents in the Bay Area said they would stop the project, compared with 41% in Los Angeles, 56% in San Diego and Orange counties and 64% in the Central Valley.
Under the California High-Speed Rail’s 2018 draft business plan, the first partial operating segment of the system would start in the Bay Area and run to the Central Valley.