San Antonio – The Voter Survey released today by VIA Metropolitan Transit shows the unpopularity of light rail consistent with the experiences of other communities in the U.S.
After two years of intensive, taxpayer-financed public relations for light rail with no organized opposition, 41% of San Antonio voters are opposed to light rail with only 49% in favor. With an 8 point difference, the results of the election will likely be determined by voter turnout. Only after the pollster “pushed” respondents with misleading information about the benefits of light rail were a majority of people inclined to support it.
“These poll results are a positive sign that San Antonio voters recognize a boondoggle when they see one,” said Jeff Judson, President of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (http://www.texaspolicy.com). He added: “As in every other community that held light rail tax elections last year, light rail is destined for defeat if skeptical and informed citizens vote.”
Five out of five light rail tax ballot measures were defeated in U.S. cities in 1999. Over the past decade, 82% of light rail measures were defeated by an average of 14 points even though light rail advocates outspent opponents by 12 to 1. (For light rail election results since 1988, go to http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-railv.htm).
More significantly, every U.S. city with light rail has voted down expansions to their systems in subsequent elections. This reveals the lack of support citizens have once they experience firsthand the illusory benefits of light rail.