State leaders on Thursday delayed releasing key details of the Bay Area section of the California high-speed rail project and said they won't unveil information on how the tracks will run through the Peninsula until at least 2012.

California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark announced to board members during a meeting in Sacramento that the San Francisco-to-San Jose section of the project would take a back seat to the Central Valley.

The delay means cities up and down the Caltrain line won't know for at least a year how the high-speed traintracks will run through their communities -- either below ground, on a raised platform or at street level.

Also delayed will be the selection of a possible mid-Peninsula station, which officials are considering for either Redwood City, Palo Alto or Mountain View, in addition to confirmed stops in San Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose. The location of a planned maintenance yard, proposed for Brisbane despite officials' objections there, will also remain up in the air.

The decision to delay Peninsula planning gives project opponents time to lawyer up, poke holes in the state's current plans and advocate their concerns. But supporters could lose the momentum they had built in the past year as the state raked in billions of dollars for construction, which had been slated to start as soon as 2012 in the Bay Area.

Rail officials emphasized that they are not pulling their teams out of the Bay Area and will be working with local leaders in the meantime.

The rail authority in December decided to spend virtually all of its available money, some $5.5 billion, to start building the rail line between roughly Fresno and Bakersfield. The full line will reach San Francisco and Los Angeles and cost $43 billion, but state officials do not have enough money to extend the tracks to either the Bay Area or Southern California and are not sure when they will get additional funding.

Officials said they still have no timetable for starting construction on the section of track between San Francisco and San Jose, which will run along the Caltrain corridor. As a result, the planning document required to start construction, a draft of which was slated for release in December 2010, will now not be available until at least 2012.

The same delay will apply to the Los Angeles-to-Anaheim section of the project.

"This will allow all stakeholders to participate in the further investigation and development of the alignments, and some of the technical complexities of the operations and alignments can be further analyzed," van Ark said.

Also as part of the plans, van Ark said they would consider building various sections of the project, such as the San Francisco-to-San Jose leg, in stages instead of all at once.

The rail authority still hopes to have trains running on the statewide line by 2020.

Contact Mike Rosenberg at 650-348-4324.