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Poll: California Voters Sour on High-Speed Rail

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If measure to build the train system were on the ballot today, it would fail

If a bond measure to construct a high-speed rail system were put on a California ballot today, the state's voters would reject it by 59 percent, according to the results of a new Field Poll released Tuesday.

The results highlighted a significant change in voter sentiment since November 2008, when Proposition 1A passed with more than 52 percent of voter approval and successfully established California's High Speed Rail project.

Prop 1A provided $9 billion for the planning and initial development of the high-speed train system that would eventually connect San Francisco and Sacramento with the Central Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego.

When voters approved Prop 1A, the California High-Speed Rail project had a total price tag of $43 billion and a projected completion date of 2020.

In November, the High-Speed Rail Authority released a revised draft business plan that more than doubled the eventual cost and duration of the construction phase, estimating it would cost $98 billion to build and take until 2033 to complete.

Nearly two out of three of the voters who took part in the Field Poll stated they would support the legislature putting the bond measure back on the ballot for another public vote.

By an almost two-to-one margin, — or 59 percent to 31 percent — voters said they would reject high-speed rail, according to results.

The poll also found that 37 percent of voters who approved Prop 1A in 2008 would change their vote to no if the bond measure came on the ballot again.

According to poll results, 73 percent of Republicans would vote against high-speed rail compared to 49 percent of Democrats.

The High-Speed Rail Authority on Tuesday released a statement reminding voters that the project is expected to create more than 100,000 jobs and "give California the transportation infrastructure it needs to compete in the 21st Century."

The rail authority said it will continue to make its case to Californians "across the state who voted to start this project in 2008."

The Field Poll was conducted with 515 randomly selected voters and has a potential margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, pollsters said.

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