Morrison Poll: Majority says they're ready to ride the rails between Tucson and Phoenix
Oct. 15, 2012
A Morrison Institute for Public Policy poll released Tuesday found that more than half of Arizonans say they or someone in their household would be very likely (29 percent) or somewhat likely (25 percent) to use a high-speed train between the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas at least two or three times per year.
The idea, which is drawing more dialogue as state officials study the feasibility for the long-discussed rail system, was especially popular among Pima County residents. Fifty-four percent said they would be very likely to use the high-speed train and 23 percent saying they’d be somewhat likely.
There was less enthusiasm among Maricopa County residents, with 27 percent calling themselves very likely and 26 percent somewhat likely to use the proposed passenger train, but those in favor stilled topped half of the county residents polled.
Predictably, those living outside the Sun Corridor – the projected concentrated growth area roughly between north of Phoenix and south of Tucson – are least likely to expect to use the proposed high-speed train, which could cost $1 billion to build.
“It comes as no real surprise that Pima County residents are more likely to say they would use the high-speed train than either Maricopa or rural residents. Fast, efficient travel to the state’s largest city and state capital is likely to appeal to those living outside Phoenix,” said Dr. David Daugherty, Morrison Institute’s director of research.
“The research findings, showing more than half of Arizonans likely to use the train, were a bit higher than we might have predicted, but should be encouraging for those supporting high-speed rail,” he added.
The poll results come as the Arizona Department of Transportation continues its long-running effort to define routes, costs, environmental impacts and other factors associated with the project. ADOT’s interest in a rail system has been driven by its projections of continuing population growth in central Arizona and a resulting traffic overload between the state’s two largest cities.
The Sun Corridor is one of the nation’s “megapolitan” areas expected to see rapid population and business growth in coming decades.
Morrison Institute published two reports on the Sun Corridor in recent years: Megapolitan: Arizona’s Sun Corridor in May 2008 and Watering the Sun Corridor in August 2011.
Established in 1982, Morrison Institute for Public Policy is a leader in examining critical Arizona and regional issues, and is a catalyst for public dialogue. An Arizona State University resource, Morrison Institute uses nonpartisan research and communication outreach to help improve the state’s quality of life.
The Morrison Institute Poll Question:
“As you know, there is talk of a high-speed train between Phoenix and Tucson. If Arizona built such a train, is it very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely or not at all likely that you or someone in your household would use it at least two or three times per year?”
Very likely 28.7%
Somewhat likely 24.9%
Not very likely 18.2%
Not at all likely 27.5%
Don’t know/refused 0.7%
Not likely 45.7%
This Morrison Institute Poll consisted of 709 interviews with registered voters statewide, conducted between Oct. 4-10, 2012 in English and Spanish by the Behavior Research Center. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.