CHICAGO TO ST. LOUIS “HIGH SPEED” RAIL EATS TAXPAYER DOLLARS, YIELDS NOTHING
The state of Illinois received $1.343 billion from the federal high-speed rail fund, plus $46 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funds to speed up and increase frequencies between Chicago and St. Louis, writes Randal O’Toole, senior fellow with the Cato Institute specializing in transportation and land use policy, in his study, “The High-Speed Rail Money Sink.”
Before spending high-speed rail funds, this route had four trains a day running at an average speed of 53 mph.
The state spent much of this money double-tracking the line and improving grade crossings to allow trains to run at 110 mph.
This benefited Union Pacific, which owns the tracks and can now run more freight trains in the corridor.
However, passengers, writes O’Toole, “Haven’t seen any benefit: the route still has only four trains a day running an average of 53 mph. Result: $1.389 billion wasted.”
“That’s the Chicago way, adopted by the Springfield Democrats,” said Jim Tobin, economist and president of the Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF). “Pay off the unions that keep Democrats in power and provide the benefits of corporate socialism to obsolete industries while providing nothing of value to taxpayers who foot the bill.”
Cato Institute Policy Analysis, April 20, 2021 | Number 915
The High-Speed Rail Money Sink by Randal O’Toole