In a recently released USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll, seven out of 10 voters said they wanted another opportunity to vote on California’s high-speed rail project.
If the rail is built, the train will be 520 miles long, linking the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles through the Central Valley. Traveling on the train between these cities would cost about $120 one way and would take approximately two hours and 40 minutes.
“Even though it would theoretically take longer than a plane, I usually choose trains over planes because they’re more relaxing and simpler, and you don’t have to get to the station as early as you would if you were taking a plane,” said Anna Skelsey, a freshman majoring in theater.
California has dedicated $9 billion to the $68 billion project to build the high-speed rail and, according to the poll, 51 percent of voters agreed that the money should be used elsewhere, though 45 percent believed it was well spent. Fifty-two percent believed that the government should stop the bullet train project completely.
Some voters did feel, however, that the high-speed rail could be beneficial to transportation. Sixty-one percent said that a high-speed rail would decrease the amount of traffic on highways and at airports. Sixty-five percent also thought that this project would create new jobs, in contrast to only 32 percent who disagreed.
Voters also answered a question on Tesla founder Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop” plan. According to Musk, the Hyperloop would consist of pressurized capsules being driven though a tube by electric motors.
About 75 percent of voters claimed to know “little or nothing” about the Hyperloop, compared to 26 percent who claimed to know “a lot or some” about it.
Fifty-five percent of voters said they would take the Hyperloop over any other mode of transportation, though 13 percent said they would rather take a high-speed train. In contrast to the high-speed rail, Musk claims that the Hyperloop would cost $20 for a one-way, 30-minute trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“I like being able to see nature and various other sites when I’m in a train,” said Pedraam Mirzanian, an undecided freshman. “You don’t get that if you’re in a plane or if you’re going really fast in a Hyperloop.”
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was conducted between Sept. 18 and 24. It polled 1,500 registered California voters.
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