What a great place for a bullet train! Imagine cutting the trip from 6 to 4 hours!
The trouble is getting in (or getting out) of Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, the slowest portion of what could be a 110-mph rail corridor between Chicago and Joliet--a rail bed of 40 miles--would cost an estimated $1.5B... roughly the same amount as the rest of the corridor is estimated to cost. And, that's before Chicago's RahmFather and the Crook County Democrat machine gets their fingers into the till.
Amtrak service on that 40-mile rail bed currently averages speeds as low as 30 mph. Travel time can take as long as 90 minutes. Transportation officials aren't even sure 110-mph trains are feasible on the Chicago-Joliet corridor. Worse yet, the Amtrak train already is 95% empty on most trips southbound beyond Joliet and 90% empty on most trips northbound from St. Louis. Even if Amtrak gets its bullet train between Chicago and St. Louis that cuts the trip from 6 to 4 hours, the train will be as empty then as it has been for decades.
As flat, straight, and boring as driving from Chicago to St. Louis (and vice versa) is, it's still quicker, cheaper, and cleaner than Amtrak and with fewer breakdowns. The Motley Monk knows this personally, having made the trip more times than he can count and would wish to remember.
To put the Chicago part of the project into proper perspective, assuming the "estimate" is what estimates on all government-subsidized projects are, that's a minimum of $37.5M/mile! From another perspective; A one-way, first-class ticket between Chicago and St. Louis currently costs $608 unsubsidized dollars. The estimate could fund a minimum of 2,467,105 first-class plane fares.
Guess who's going to pay for that? It sure won't be those using the bullet train. The subsidies will come from taxpayers' earnings, just as they have for decades in the the attempt to Europeanize the United States with a 19th century idea overlaid with a patina of 21st century technology.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Chicago Tribune article, click on the following link: