The majority of Baltimore metropolitan area residents like the idea of a light-rail system linking Anne Arundel County with Baltimore, but most say they would not use it, a new poll shows.

A survey published yesterday in The Evening Sun reported that more than 51 percent of area residents thought the new transit line was a good idea. About 39.9 percent of respondents were opposed to the $290 milion project unveiled by Gov. William Donald Schaefer last month.

About 82 percent of those polled said they probably would not use the rail system, which would connect downtown Baltimore with Hunt Valley, Glen Burnie and Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Only 15.7 percent of respondents said they would use the light-rail line.

Anita Pesses, manager of public relations for the state Mass Transit Administration, said officials were not concerned about the results.

"It's in the ballpark of where we'd expect it to be," she said. "And besides, it's fairly early in the process of getting information out to the public. Look at Harborplace. I don't think you'd find anybody now who thinks it's a bad idea, but think of all the objection there was to it in the beginning."

Approval was greater from those who came from areas that would be served by the rail line. But even residents of Baltimore and two counties involved said they would probably not use it.

Blacks were slightly more likely to favor the project than whites, and approval was greater for those in middle-income brackets.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 7 to 14 by the Savitz Research Center. The group polled 806 adults in Baltimore city, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard and Carroll counties. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.