The first segment will start in Anaheim, go through downtown Los Angeles, stop in Burbank, Sylmar and Palmdale, then head up through the Central Valley and to the San Francisco Bay Area, at times reaching speeds up to 220 mph. The authority has yet to chose between two potential routes through Northern California or name specific stops in the Bay Area. High speed rail in California – now estimated to cost $40 billion – has struggled for decades to gain public support and funding, and once again is facing the threat of a setback. Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to slash the authority’s operating budget and postpone a $10 billion bond measure that is tentatively slated for 2008. The bond measure had originally been scheduled for a vote in 2004, but the Legislature has already postponed it twice. Schwarzenegger has said he supports the concept of high-speed rail, but thinks the authority has to do more planning before it can receive major funding. In fact, authority members Wednesday discussed a financing plan that they acknowledged was very general and lacked any commitments from the private sector or the federal government. Travelers in Anaheim, Los Angeles and the Bay Area will be first to ride the state’s multi-billion dollar high-speed rail system – if it is ever built – the rail agency decided Wednesday. The California High-Speed Rail Authority board, which is pursuing the project in several segments, decided to first build in areas that are expected to have the highest ridership and bring in the most revenue. “If we wish to do something, we need to figure out how to start moving forward in bite-sized pieces – pieces that have true ends,” said authority board member Curt Pringle, the mayor of Anaheim. “I think this is an appropriate way to focus and move forward.” That means that while the first segment could open by 2017, planned stops in San Diego, Irvine, the Inland Empire and Sacramento will be postponed for years after that date. “The authority needs to come up with a strong financing plan on where that additional revenue is going to come from, before we move forward with the bond,” said Adam Mendelsohn, spokesman for the governor. “He’s absolutely committed to high-speed rail, believes it’s critical for California’s infrastructure growth, but also believes it’s in the best interest of taxpayers that there be a strong financing plan developed before the additional revenue is put forward. The Legislature is currently holding hearings to consider restoring at least some of the authority’s operating funding for next year. The authority was divided 5-2 in its decision Wednesday to pick an initial segment. Board member Lynn Schenk, a former congresswoman from San Diego, objected to her city being left off the initial route. Member Jeff Crane, an advisor to the governor, opposed the plan because he felt the project should have a more specific financing plan first. Schenk, who has been involved in high-speed rail since the 1970s, said the San Diego to Los Angeles segment would be heavily traveled and should be part of the first stage. “I believe by adopting the entire corridor as the first phase, we can get there much more quickly,” Schenk said. “I can’t vote for any plan approval that will leave San Diego in the high-speed rail dustbin of history.” But the board’s executive director, Mehdi Moshed, said several areas in the Southern California route are difficult to plan right now because regional governmental groups in San Diego and Los Angeles are studying independent, privately funded proposals to build high-speed rail systems using magnetic levitation technology, which would be incompatible with the steel-wheel technique used under the authority’s plan. [email protected] (916) 446-6723 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!