Republican Neel Kashkari, criticizing Gov. Jerry Brown for his support of California's high-speed rail project, released a web ad Tuesday panning it as "a symbol of Sacramento having the wrong priorities."
The online-only ad, the first issue ad of Kashkari's campaign, comes a week after the former U.S. Treasury Department official announced his candidacy for governor. In the video, Kashkari, wearing blue jeans and seated in a leather chair, calls the project the "crazy train."
"To me, it is not only a waste of money, it is a great example, it is a symbol of Sacramento having the wrong priorities," Kashkari says in the video. "If I were elected governor, we're going to cancel the bullet train and we're going to focus on the state's real priorities, which are jobs and education."
Yet the project's proposed financing includes a mix of sources including state bond funds, federal aid and private investment. Kashkari has yet to issue detailed policy proposals for education or jobs creation, his stated priorities, and he has not said how he would craft a state spending plan.
The $68 billion rail project is an issue Republicans believe they can exploit in attacking Brown. The Democratic governor is heavily favored in his likely re-election bid this year, but public support for the troubled project, a priority of Brown's administration, has fallen off since voters approved it in 2008.
The project, which is planned to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, is beset by legal challenges. The Brown administration on Friday asked the California Supreme Court to intervene in two lower court rulings that jeopardize its funding.