THE New World Development-led consortium planning to build a $3 billion elevated railway in Kowloon is enlisting public support for the project, which it claims is being blocked by government bureaucracy and the Sino-British row over franchises that straddle 1997. The consortium yesterday announced that an independent territory-wide survey conducted by research firm Frank Small and Associates had showed that more than 80 per cent of interviewees approved of the proposed system. They cited as their main reasons improved road traffic conditions, time-saving, widened transport choice, general convenience and environmental benefits. The area to be serviced by the proposed system covers Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsim Sha Tsui East and Hunghom. Only four per cent of respondents registered disapproval. Most cited no improvement in traffic conditions as their reason. Mr Paul Tong, chairman of the Kowloon Sky Rail Project executive committee, said that more than $20 million had been spent on the project during the last two years and further delay would mean greater loss to the consortium. He admitted that the franchise issue might influence the Government's decision on transport projects straddling 1997, apart from the Urban Council's deliberations on the environmental problems. However, he denied that the survey was intended to put pressure on the Government to decide quickly. The result only confirmed the interest from the public at large for the project, which would be a viable complementary system to existing transport, Mr Tong added. The project is understood to have been discussed at a Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG) meeting about a year ago but no decision was made. Mr Tong hoped that the project could be put to the JLG agenda again to minimise further delay following a government meeting expected to be held in the near future. He said that the consortium would be able to complete the project in 21/2 years, once the Government gave the green light. Besides New World, Cheung Kong, Spie Batignolles SA and Indosuez Asia are equity partners in the project. Councillor Joseph Chan Yuek-sut said the council was not convinced that Tsim Sha Tsui needed Sky Rail. ''The question is: is it very difficult to get to Tsim Sha Tsui and its visiting spots? We don't think so,'' he said. ''We believe there would be noise pollution and visual intrusions anyway.'' Mr Chan said the rail service, which would run between the Star Ferry and Hutchison Park, would mainly benefit residents of Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei. Last year, a working group set up by the council to study the project's impact decided against it. Urban councillor Chow Wing-shing, who headed the working group, said the council maintained its earlier position because it was worried that the project would encroach on council facilities, create noise and vibration, and be an eyesore.