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Pull over, buddy _ and give us your opinion

State troopers were flagging down motorist after motorist on Interstate 4 Monday _ to take a survey.

The motorists were directed to pull into a rest stop, where interviewers waited to ask whether they would ride a high-speed train.

The troopers, off-duty but in uniform, were being paid by a consulting firm to help with the survey by pulling cars over randomly.

"They freaked me out," said Alan Kent of Clearwater. "I thought they had pulled me over to search me."

Survey officials say the stops are legal and are the best way to accurately target I-4 commuters and tourists, those most likely to use a fast train.

"With the cooperation of state troopers, the state is allowed to pull people over just to seek information," said Bruce Williams, who helped design the survey for the Florida High Speed Rail Authority.

David Vogel, directing the interviews, said most motorists were "understanding and patient."

The survey will be repeated at the rest stop today, officials said.

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