# Bullet Train for the 40,239 Students at University of Illinois in Champaign

Multiply the 40,239 student figure for spring 2011 enrollment by 50, just assuming that high speed rail would have a life of fifty years.

They divide that by six, just assuming that the average student takes six years to get through college.

The result is 368,658 students. Let’s round down, assuming that the average student doesn’t take six years to get through college.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Governor Pat Quinn is allocating \$1.25 million in planning money.

The article says construction of a system that would allow 220 MPH bullet trains would cost tens of billions of dollars.

OK, let’s assume that its only three tens of billions of dollars.

What is \$30 billion divided by 300,000.

It’s only \$300 per student?

That’s assuming equipment is included in the \$30 billion and no annual operating subsidy is required.

And assuming all the students will use the train to get to and from home.

Neither assumption is likely.

In the 1990’s, when I calculated how much it would cost in operating subsidies to keep Amtrak running to Macomb, it came out to over \$2,000 per student.

I figure it would be as cheap to buy each student a car.

I’m betting a similar conclusion can be reached after the U of I study is completed.

#### Bullet Train for the 40,239 Students at University of Illinois in Champaign — 2 Comments

1. How many of the 40,239 students live in the Chicago metro area.

While I like the idea of taking a pleasant 220 mph train ride, I don’t see high speed rail being feasible in Chicago.

The unions will get involved and drive up the operational cost with high pay and benefits.

Other than students, once you get somewhere, to get around you need a car or taxi.

I don’t see this being feasible.

2. What drives the left’s fantastical ideas regarding the mythical, if not mystical, beneficence of high-speed rail? Is it perhaps that government can spend money faster and in greater quantities in a single place on high-speed rail than on other economically impractical and infeasible ideas? If so, the ever-present, yet never applied, term du jour – transparency – demands that the “High-Speed” before the term “rail” be footnoted to refer to the velocity of money spent rather than to the pragmatically impossible train.