Poll: Only 31% of Californians Want to Keep Paying for High-Speed Rail Project

Signing high-speed rail track (Gary Kazanjian / Associated Press)
Gary Kazanjian / Associated Press

A new poll suggests that only 31% of registered voters in California want to keep paying for the California High-Speed Rail project, the “bullet train” that Gov. Jerry Brown sees as a major legacy project to fight climate change.

The USC Dornsife / Los Angeles Times poll asked 835 respondents whether they supported or opposed the project, and found Californians were evenly divided — until they were told about the cost, at which point support crashed, according to the Times:

About 48% of the poll’s 835 respondents said that in general they strongly or somewhat support the project, while 43% oppose it. USC poll director Jill Darling said those are not strong numbers of support or opposition, given the poll’s margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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.

As with many issues, the project’s strongest proponents are residents of the liberal San Francisco Bay area.

As Breitbart News has reported, the cost of the project has skyrocketed even as construction has bogged down. Gov. Brown has dismissed criticisms of high-speed rail as “bullshit,” but the fact is that the project, which was supposed to take passengers from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay area in less than three hours, cannot guarantee that travel time and will require heavy subsidies to remain competitive with air fares or driving costs.

Voters approved the project in a 2008 referendum, in the same election that brought Barack Obama to power. The new administration’s stimulus project emphasized high-speed rail projects — and sought to punish states that did not want to build them. But only California has persisted with its high-speed rail plans, and has done so despite facing opposition even from environmental groups.

Voters, too, are now souring on the project and its future seems dim — though gubernatorial frontrunner Gavin Newsom has reversed his former opposition and now supports the project.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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