Over 90% of the nearly 350 million miles traveled on the average weekday in Illinois occur by costly automobiles, far too many compared to other industrialized nations that use less oil, emit less pollutions, and are less oil-dependent.
Electrified trains cost travelers between 30 to 75% less than other modes, 1/6th that of driving and 1/10th of flying. And is cleaner and non foreign oil-dependent.
Upgraded track is 6 to 7 times cheaper to build than highways. One track carries 3 to 5 times more people than a highway lane, which cost $6 million more per mile to build. Rail transport helps develop cities too.
California and New York have invested heavily in their inter-city rail networks.
Trains emit far fewer total emissions (volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide) than cars and planes.
Congestion costs the Chicago area alone $4.2 billion a year, and rail solves this.
Motor vehicle crashes cost $820 per resident for medical expenses, traffic delays, insurance and legal costs. In 2004, 1,341 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Illinois. Transport deaths costs are $3 million each! There are only a dozen or so passenger rail fatalities a year in the US by all rail modes.
During emergencies and extreme weather conditions, airports become overcrowded, and highways can completely shut down with traffic.
Tracks require only 10% of the land currently used for highways, and are less likely to result in wetland losses and flooding.
Ridership surges dramatically when supplemental service is added at more convenient times. On the west coast, ridership jumped from 100,000 to 900,000 rides per year. When Acela service was introduced in the northeast, ridership rose from 1/2 million to 2.5 million passengers a year.
The total miles traveled in general is rising 20X faster than the state's population.