Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Field Polls Confirms Large Prop 1 Lead

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

The Field Poll, widely considered the most accurate poll here in California by political scientists and analysts, confirms a large lead for Prop 1:

56% Yes
30% No
14% Undecided

The link above has the full poll details that you can read for yourself. It is very close to the in-house poll discussed here recently, where 58% supported and 33% opposed.

One other important factor was the level of public awareness of HSR and Prop 1. Not surprisingly, it is VERY low:

22% aware of plan, 78% unaware

That means we all have a lot of work to do. The fact that the public didn't know many of the details but still supported it shows they support the concept of HSR. Our opponents will and as you see in our comments are trying to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt over the details. It is very important that we all do what we can to show that the HSR deniers' claims are bunk.

Californians want and support HSR. And the more we talk about it, the more they learn about it, the bigger that support grows.

32 comments:

Francis said...

The HSR people need to step up their efforts to promote it. Simply making their website more up to date would do wonders to increase the coverage that is out there. Hire an intern or something. With 3/4 of Californians not even hearing about it, it should be their 2nd highest priority.

Anonymous said...

The HSR people need to step up their efforts even more to promote the project. WOW!!!

Well thus far they have Calpirg on their payroll. Calpirg has hired full time college students for the summer. They are knocking on doors all up and down the state promoting the project. These students know almost nothing about the project but they keep knocking on doors and try to convince voters to write and sign up as advocates of the project.

Robert's statement:

"the more they learn about it, the bigger that support grows." certainly is not backed up by the polling numbers.

The poll by CHSRA in Feb showed 56% of those polled in favor of the project. The new Field poll shows 56% of those in favor. Where is this growing support?

What is really a telltale detail, is that CHSRA's poll taken 5 months ago indicated that 49% of those surveyed, knew about the project. The Field poll shows only 22% of those polled knew about the project.

Fireworks is coming -- hold onto your hats.

Morris Brown said...

Well "deniers" have picked up support from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- the largest taxpayer organization in California. Jon Coupal, the president in an article writes:

First, Prop. 1 is a boondoggle that will cost taxpayers nearly $20 billion dollars in principal and interest. Taxpayers will foot this bill -- it's not "free money." According to the measure (Article 3, Section 2704.10) "... the full faith and credit of the state of California is hereby pledged for the punctual payment of both principal of, and interest on, the bonds ... ." This measure will take $20 billion dollars out of the general fund over the life of the bonds. That's over $2,000 for an average family of four!

Anonymous said...

This info must be gotten out! The necon think tanks will send lots of money to all the naysayers and
antirail! The state has the first
ballot sample on line...you should read the dribble argument against
HSR...of course posted by the old Nimbeys in Menlo Park and dear Senator Mcclintock!!

Anonymous said...

"picked up" the Jarvis whiners as
support?!!! what a laugh..did you think they where going to back HSR?
This same group backs NOTHING!unless it people like you!! how much did they give?

Rafael said...

@ morris brown -

is that $20 billion figure adjusted for inflation over the 30+ years during which the bond is repaid? What is the net present value of the principal plus interest?

There's a big numerical difference between nominal and real 2008 dollar amounts.

Jack Duluoz said...

well hold the phone Morris! You got the most rediculous "don't spend our taxes on anything, EVER!" libertarian and the most psychotic member of the legislature in your corner. Bravo!

These are the same folks who write the only opposition statements for school bonds...Classy guys.

Now it's time to show us what you got. We all already know that it will cost money to build. However so would any other infrastructure project. So what else you got? Let's hear a cogent argument free of misinformation or absurd hyperboly.

(you people have made-up so much math and fuzzy tautology without any sort of citation, reference, or detailed explaniation that it would make a middle school teacher boil-over)

If you really had a leg to stand on I bet it would be easy and we would have already heard it.

Rafael said...

Here is the web page of another group organizing support for Prop 1.

Mike said...

morris,

Have you ever read a voter information guide? Have you ever noticed that the Howard Jarvis foundation opposes virtually every measure that involves any public spending? Their opposition is a given, as always.

Robert Cruickshank said...

The Howard Jarvis Association and Jon Coupal will be the subject of a post sometime soon, but probably not until I'm back in California in August. Their opposition is both predictable and insignificant. The only people who make decisions based on their policy positions are hard-right conservatives who were never likely to support this anyway.

Brandon M. Farley said...

Yes, when ever I hear of the Howard Jarvis group the first thing that comes to mind is how credible they are. And, do they support anything.

That group is often cited by naysayers... to show opposition for this or that.

As Robert says... very predictable... and in my mind.. easily dismissible.

With that said... I predict pro and con marketing efforts, if any, to surface in mid to late September and last through October. If you plan to donate to the campaign... now seems like a good time.

Rafael said...

On a related note, here is an online copy of an article from the SF Chronicle on peak oil. It mentions high speed rail as one piece of the much larger puzzle of how to prepare for a future in which the world can no longer supply enough crude oil (at affordable prices) to sustain the creature comforts California residents have become accustomed to.

The HSR project started out as a way to add affordable intermediate-distance mobility for the state's growing population, given that expanding freeways and airport runways is more damaging to the environment - both natural and urban - and costs more to boot.

In 2008, mitigating long-term energy supply risks is perhaps an even more important reason to approve prop 1 this November.

One point the article raises is the amount of fuel required to transport food around the state. The proposed HSR network would be even more valuable if light cargo - as opposed to heavy freight - trains could run on the HSR tracks at night. Speeds would have to be sharply reduced, especially in urban areas, to keep the noise down. In addition, minimizing rail-wheel noise at source is already a very active research topic all over the world.

High speed rail cargo could include perishables like fresh produce, fish and meat, plus first-class mail and packages. This would entail transferring cargo to (hybrid electric) delivery trucks for last mile haulage, but total diesel consumption would still be sharply reduced.

For reference, La Poste in France owns and operates a number of cargo TGVs, though afaik they all run during the day. A variation on the theme would be to attach cargo trainsets to passenger trains that are anyhow scheduled to run. For most of the way, no additional (expensive) drivers would be required to move the cargo.

Spokker said...

B-B-B-B-But it's a boondoggie! Your children's critical school programs... all gone... because of HSR.

CA HSR will kill millions of Californian children. Vote no on this wasteful project.

Haha, and I love how every argument against says, "THIS IS NOT THE TIME!" as if there would ever be a time when they would support such a project.

Matt in SF said...

Great news on the poll. That's almost a 2:1 ratio of folks supporting it vs. folks opposing it.

Also I really do get the sense that CA elected officials are taking notice that HSR has broad (if not deep) public support, and the politicians who are not die-hard anti-tax, anti-public works conservatives are more likely to soften their opposition or even get on board with the program now that the train looks like it is leaving the station.

Anonymous, you're sounding a little more strained today. Tough news fella.

Morris Brown said...

@rafael

The $20 billion is what the State's legislative analyst says the total cost of servicing the bond will be over 30 years.

You can always make the claim it will be paid back with cheaper dollars, but this is the State's official position.

AB-3034, if it passes, extends the bond to a 40 year bond. The bean counters at the State level, would rather pay less per year but over 10 year longer period. That adds another $3.7 billion to the total cost.

The 40 year extension was added at the last minute. The state is not in good shape -- this is a reflection on that concern.

July 23, 2008 8:01 PM

Rafael said...

The Peninsula Examiner warns that CAHSR might have to exercise limited eminent domain along approx. 9.5 miles of the SF peninsula Caltrain ROW in San Mateo county should negotiations on voluntary sales fail. At least 100 feet of width are needed to accommodate the proposed four tracks (2 exclusively for HSR, 2 for Caltrain/UPRR).

Let's hope the Authority has set aside enough money to provide sufficiently generous compensation to avoid lengthy legal battles. Lowballing affected homeowners would be penny wise and pound foolish, as construction delays would jack up the price of the whole project and defer revenue generation.

Nikko Pigman said...

That's if they decide to go into Pacheco. I think its a given AB3034 will not be used so the pass route is now in jeopardy again.

Brandon M. Farley said...

Rafael,
Public agencies hire appraisal companies to conduct appraisals before purchasing property. Or acquiring through emminent domain.

They have very little latitude to negotiate up or down from appraisals.

With that said, at least fo rthe next couple-few years property values will rmain depreseed.

Eric said...

Brandon,

I agree and that is another reason to build HSR now. While the real estate market is down, it will save money on land acquisitions.

Spokker said...

On a non-rail non-transit forum where I post, there is a general discussion about the California ballot measures.

Someone who is generally against bonds had this to say.

"Prop 1. Yes. I normally vote against bond measures on general principle but this is a worthy exception. Airports are hell, rail is not. If this gets put in, I'll be taking a lot more trips up to San Francisco (in 10 years when its finally built)

Prop 3. No. Children's hospitals are good and all but f bonds."

Rail over children's hospitals. Haha, I think this thing might actually pass! Hooray!

full force ahead said...

eric writes:

Brandon,

I agree and that is another reason to build HSR now. While the real estate market is down, it will save money on land acquisitions.

July 23, 2008 10:45 PM


Yes Eric I agree. Screw the homeowners and commercial businesses, so that you can ride your fancy train.

Anonymous said...

All the whining about the 9billion dollar cost...Ford Motor just lost
that MUCH in the last the last 3 months! Budweiser sold for what
30 billion ?? What is with the lame
whines about the huge cost over 30years? THIS IS A GIANT STATE! the
money generated by the system will
more than triple that investment

Anonymous said...

Caltrain has plans for many 4 tracks sections to be built.With or without HRS ..so much for that whine.

Rafael said...

@ anonymous @ 8:54am -

who's whining? Caltrain has already implemented a number of four-track sections to create bypasses for its "baby bullet" trains, which are regular trains that just don't stop as often.

For HSR, quad track will be required for the entire ROW between Gilroy and SF, though I believe the tunnel between 4th & King and the new Transbay Terminal will be dual track. Quad tracking along the full ROW greatly simplifies the operation of trains running at substantially different speeds.

Also, Caltrain has not yet received a waiver to run non-compliant off-the-shelf European EMU rolling stock on its own tracks, which also host UPRR freight trains once in a blue moon. Such a waiver would facilitate construction of that propose tunnel section in SF, because EMUs can negotiate steeper gradients than conventional trains with locomotives. Besides, HSR will also use non-compliant off-the-shelf European or Japanese rolling stock. If Caltrain obtains its waiver, sharing that tunnel with HSR will be much easier.

Note that it's not entirely clear if Caltrain's "baby bullet" service will continue once HSR becomes operational.

Eric said...

Full Force Ahead,

The land acquisition for this project is far greater than the homes and businesses you mentioned along the right-of-way that will need to be bought or taken. There is a lot of open land that needs to be bought outside of the cities. Try thinking about the bigger picture next time.

Anonymous said...

No Rafel, your not the whiner..
its are "friends" in Menlo Park. Land of course needs bought...If high speed rail fails wait to you see the screams and cost to build
more runways at SFO,LAX,SAN ..and the wide new freeways.

Anonymous said...

One argument I keep hearing is how much money is going to be saved by not having to build highways or add more airport capacity.

These are both blatantly false. By even CHSRA own numbers, the HSR is only going to take 6% of the autos off the roads in the central valley. Even if they can get their estimated bloated share of the intra state air passengers, airport expansion is still going to be needed.

Nobody with any real knowledge is buying into this line of baloney.

Rafael:

I keep wondering why CalTrain is so cordial with the cozy arrangement with CHSRA. There would seem to be a good possibility CalTrain may well be making themselves totally captive to the CHSRA. Right now, they are depending on the bullet train for a very large portion of the fares they collect. CalTrain has been cutting down on many stops at intermediate stations, and actually closed down Atherton.

CalTrain will get electrification and grade crossings, but if in doing so they commit Hari Kari, to what end?

Maybe the ultimate goal is to just merge? Nice golden parachute rewards for the retiring executives of CalTrains and merging their staff into HSR.

Spokker said...

Wow, it's like conspiracy theory corner in here.

Anonymous said...

@spokker and others:

Conspiracy theories -- well call it what you wish. If you care to get educated you should read:

Bullet Train to Nowhere

Note the players in this project, Morshed, Diridon and Parsons Brinkerhoff.

So you can stick your head in the sand and rave about what a wonderful project this has become. Eventually the press is going to awaken again and get the real story out there.

Why do you think the Senate Transportation and Housing commission wants accountability and risk management?

Anonymous said...

somehow the link to the article got corrupted -- thus the re-post.

@spokker and others:

Conspiracy theories -- well call it what you wish. If you care to get educated you should read:

Bullet Train to Nowhere

Note the players in this project, Morshed, Diridon and Parsons Brinkerhoff.

So you can stick your head in the sand and rave about what a wonderful project this has become. Eventually the press is going to awaken again and get the real story out there.

Why do you think the Senate Transportation and Housing commission wants accountability and risk management?

Eric said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

somehow the link to the article got corrupted -- thus the re-post.

@spokker and others:

Conspiracy theories -- well call it what you wish. If you care to get educated you should read:

Bullet Train to Nowhere

Note the players in this project, Morshed, Diridon and Parsons Brinkerhoff.

So you can stick your head in the sand and rave about what a wonderful project this has become. Eventually the press is going to awaken again and get the real story out there.

Why do you think the Senate Transportation and Housing commission wants accountability and risk management?


Yeah, good luck with that!!

Full of fallacies

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