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High Speed Rail Station.JPGA coalition representing Northern and Central California contractors and union construction workers launched a radio campaign this week applauding the state's proposed high-speed rail system.

The group's 60-second spots, narrated by comedian Will Durst, are running at least twice daily -- during morning and evening commutes -- on six Sacramento and nine Bay Area radio stations.

The spot by the California Alliance for Jobs can be heard here.

The group's push to rally public opinion comes at a time when the planned high-speed rail system is coming under increasing criticism, sparking efforts to kill it in the wake of a state auditor's report that questions its financing and ridership projections.

"I think the high-speed rail project is a game changer for California's economy down the road," coalition executive director Jim Earp said of the bullet train system to connect Northern and Southern California.

"It's one of those infrastructure projects that will have as much impact on California long-term as the original railroads did," Earp said.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who is trying to push the project through the Legislature this year, said recently that he is redesigning the high-speed rail system -- estimated to cost $100 billion -- in a way that would cut its costs.

Earp said the high-speed rail radio spots are part of an ongoing, multiyear campaign touting projects that would hike employment during California's rocky economic times.

The following is a transcript of the minute-long high speed rail spot:

"Hey guys, Will Durst here. Let's talk about vision -- and when I say vision, I'm not talking about some guy doing Lasik surgery in a van down by the river. I mean looking at the future and doing something positive to affect it. And that's why I was happy to hear Governor Brown's vision for high-speed rail.

"As with any project of this scope, there are problems to overcome, but we can do this. You know, in 1939, naysayers called the proposed interstate highway system 'New Deal, jitterbug economics.' In 1966, some called the planned BART system a billion-dollar fiasco.

"There will always be skeptics. Heck, some people would vote against sunshine and hugs. But we need a fast, green, inviting way to move around California. Are we going to let this great project be sunk by the naysayers or elevated by the visionaries? It's time to do the right thing - put people to work now and build something momentous for our future."

PHOTO CREDIT: A view of the interior of a station in the proposed high speed rail network. Rendering by Newlands and Company Inc. Sacramento Bee file, 2008.


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