What exactly are we getting for all that money? Here are a few key facts to keep in mind:
These trains will not be super-fast bullet trains. The top speed will be boosted to just 110 mph, meaning
average speeds of just 60 mph to 75 mph. Trains have run that fast for
more than 70 years.
The average Illinoisan will take a round trip on high-speed trains only once every nine years.
For every Illinoisan riding high-speed rail once a month, more than 100 residents will never ride it.
The average American will ride high-speed trains like these for fewer than 60 miles a year. That's about 1/70th as much as they travel on interstate freeways.
The main patrons of these high-speed trains will be well-paid downtown workers whose employers pay their fare.
Given the low ridership relative to Illinois' highway traffic, these moderate-speed trains will do little to relieve traffic congestion. Even California, which proposed true high-speed trains, projects that its trains would only reduce traffic congestion by 3.8 percent.
In intercity travel, automobiles are already as energy efficient as Amtrak. What's more, the energy efficiency of automobiles and airlines are growing faster than trains.