IT'S INTERESTING how the California High-Speed Rail Authority has successfully mapped out a route that a 200 mph "bullet train" could travel between Northern California and Southern California.

We had winners and losers. The state board elected to go with a route that travels Pacheco Pass, near state Highway 152, with the first Bay Area stop in Gilroy. The winner here, you would think, is the growing South Bay region that is dying to be efficiently transit-connected with the Bay Area.

The loser was the Altamont Pass region, where a decent part of the Bay Area population is heading. Another loser is Oakland, where no stop will be made under the winning plan.

Well, we have some news for the "bullet train" fans -- the real losers are those who believe this project will become a reality any time soon.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is conducting these meetings and planning sessions without a nickel's guarantee this project will see the light of day.

We're talking a project, at present, that will cost $40 billion to construct. The state will approach voters in November to consider a bond measure worth $10 billion to start the project; where the other $30 billion is coming from is anyone's guess.

In fact, there's no guarantee the price won't go up significantly, as state projects are wont to do, particularly if it takes years just to raise the money.

If there's someone out there willing to donate the money, bring it on. Realistically, if the bond measure passes, the project's future could still amount to disconnected rail throughout the Central Valley and a waste of $10 billion.


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The timing couldn't be any worse. We have greater infrastructure priorities that must be addressed, an impending state budget crisis and a housing collapse that puts the state's economic future in question.

Perhaps the state board should have addressed funding first before mapping out a route.

We like the concept of a bullet train -- a good, quick connector from one end of the state to the other -- but we just can't afford it right now. We think the state has better things to do than promote pie-in-the-sky projects.