February 24, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 3:58 pm

Most Americans unaware of high-speed rail

A new poll shows only a third of Americans are aware of their states' high-speed rail projects, such as the Connecticut proposal for express rail from New Haven to Springfield as part of the bigger northern New England corridor.

The Harris Interactive poll conducted Jan. 17-24 shows 66 percent of Americans are likely to consider using high-speed rail when traveling for pleasure and 33 percent would use it to travel for business.

The low awareness of proposed projects in their state - 35 percent -- shows rail only generates interest in places with visible projects, such as California and Florida, said Linda Schulz, vice president of public affairs and policy at Harris Interactive.

"The relatively low awareness of high-speed rail across the country is not surprising given the disparate, regional nature of today's hottest HSR debates," Schultz said in a statement. "However, as discussions become more prominent in more areas, and as projects get underway, we will be well positioned to monitor changing awareness and attitudes."

The poll showed people would choose high-speed rail depending on cost, location of train station, overall trip time and safety.

Connecticut's proposed line would link the state's major population centers of New Haven and Hartford while linking to nearby states, such as New York and Massachusetts. The New England corridor plans call for links to New York City, Boston and Montreal.

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