The first rails of California’s high speed train system will be laid between Merced and Bakersfield. The 160+ mile stretch will consume roughly all of the $4.3 billion the High-Speed Rail authority currently has.

At the end of the phase, they expect zero riders to actually use the line. They aren’t leaving any money to pay for the trains themselves.

Umm… Did I read/write that right?

From the San Mateo County Times:

The state’s bullet-train project will begin in the Central Valley in 2012, a major victory for project opponents in the Peninsula and a huge blow to the local job market.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority announced this morning it will pool all its available money — $4.3 billion in federal grants and matching state bonds — to start the project between Merced and Bakersfield.

The Central Valley segment beat out two other finalists: the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose and the section between Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Read the full article here.