County Residents Support CenterLine
Updated September 25, 2003
|Artist rendition of the proposed CenterLine
light rail system in downtown Santa Ana.
Fifty-five percent of Orange County residents
favor building a light rail line from Santa Ana to John Wayne Airport,
according to survey findings reported
last week by the Center for Public Policy in cooperation with the
Orange County Business Council.
In a telephone survey of 506 county
residents, polled between Aug. 26 and Sept. 10, respondents agreed
or strongly agreed that light rail should be part of the mix of
Orange County transportation and that building light rail, even
for a short distance, could serve as a starter for the future. The
survey was conducted by the university’s Social Science Research
“Perhaps the most interesting
observation is the agreement with the concept of light rail, on
what we might call a philosophical level,” said Keith Boyum,
center director and associate vice president of academic programs.
“Respondents agree that light rail should be part of the mix
and six out of 10 say they’d like to be trolley-riders themselves.
However, these are not riders of public transportation. They like
the idea of light rail.
“What people like in concept
is frequently not what they want in their backyards. In Irvine,
residents voted no on CenterLine – not as a concept but as
a proposed set of rails in neighborhoods.”
“When people are presented
with details about the light rail proposals, Orange County residents
are supportive of such a transportation option, even when their
personal experiences have been conditioned by an ‘automobility’
of freeway dependency,” added Ray Young, professor of geography.
Although the survey was thorough,
it cannot predict a hypothetical vote for rail. Variables such as
voter turnout, budgets, the line-up of candidates and other issues
on the ballot could affect the outcome of the CenterLine project,
noted Boyum, a professor of political science. However, respondent
attitudes were probed with researchers mimicking, at least in part,
some of the information that a campaign about CenterLine might evoke.
In fact, many residents weren’t that familiar with the CenterLine
proposal. Respondents also were more likely to support light rail
if it required no new taxes and if later extensions would serve
more areas of Orange County.
Read Survey Report
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