According to The Transport Politic, SNCF, the French national railroad operator, thinks that a Midwest High-Speed Rail system is economically viable and is interested in building it.
…SNCF’s response was conditioned on viability: it suggests that high-speed rail investment should only occur where operating and maintenance costs would be covered by rider revenue and that socio-economic benefits offset initial public investments in the system. Based on its conclusions, the corridors it has picked for study would meet those guidelines.
Here is what they have to say about a Midwest system:
SNCF expects that the system would more than cover operations costs, allowing the network’s revenues to be used to repay some of the initial construction costs. The public would subsidize 54% of the $68.5 billion total cost of right-of-way, construction, and trainsets. Benefits from reduced car and air travel, however, are expected to make up for 150% of the government investment in construction costs over a period of just 15 years of operation.
Travel time between Minneapolis and Chicago? 2 hours and 42 minutes.