Supporters for a futuristic transportation test system for Winona have thrown their cards on the table, with the city poised to apply for $25 million in federal funds for a first phase test lab.
Preliminary work on the possible project shows that Southeast Technical College could connect with the hospital and East End retailers through a series of pod-like cars which ride along elevated tracks.
Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a transportation system developed in the 1950s, and has had its share of failures and criticism for a system which carries three to five passengers to destination stations along the elevated tracks. But supporters of the technology say it’s green, convenient, affordable and the wave of the future, with some studies suggesting such transit will become a $44 billion industry by 2020.
$44 billion? in ten years?
If PRT does explode as the new transportation system of the future, Winona city leaders would like a cut of the job creation that would flower alongside its development. They’ve come up with a plan, one that could result in a $175 million to $200 million system connecting locations in Winona, while fueling composite industry jobs and higher education collaboration.
That's $200 million of taxpayers dollars, folks.
Within a document prepared by the city to promote Winona as the site for a PRT test site, support was pegged from all three higher education institutions, and Winona-based RTP Company and related composite industries in Winona were named as private businesses which could help develop the actual pod cars and related infrastructure. That, city leaders say, could help create jobs that would continue to grow as PRT takes off elsewhere.
The City Council will learn more about the proposal on Tuesday, when it will vote on whether to pursue the $25 million in federal funding for the first phase project. That money would come with an 80/20 split, and would require matching dollars. City leaders have suggested that there’s plenty of interest from possible private donors for the project, and they likely won’t seek state bonding money for the potential PRT test bed.
"Possible private donors"..... where have I heard that before....
I wrote about a similar pitch for a PRT resolution back in December 23, 2005:
How the Personal Rapid Transit Scam Works
The PRT scam artists tried to sneak a resolution onto the Saint Paul City Councilmeeting agenda Wednesday.
Pioneer Press 12/20/05:
"St. Paul City Council: Regular meeting, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd. The council will discuss the city's Emergency Operations Plan and a potential feasibility study on a personal rapid transit system...."
I heard the councilman yanked the PRT resolution. I've also heard from a reliable source that the PRTers claimed they had an "angel" willing to invest in a PRT "demonstration project" in Falcon Heights... a monorail between the Midway stadium and the State Fair.
Apparently, the angel didn't exist (maybe the angel was raptured).
The PRTers have pulled variations of this scam in Duluth, Minneapolis, and Rochester. They convince some well-meaning councilmembers to vote for a resolution saying they are "considering" or "studying" a PRT project for their city.
The anti-LRT/anti-Northstar bunch (Bachmann and Mark Olson are prominent Northstar haters and PRT boosters) in the legislature use the resolutions to convince DFLers to vote for their anti-transit PRT bills because a PRT project in their district smells like pork. That's the Democratic Party for you, the Dems will eagerly hang themselves if the rope is made of pork. Last session the PRT demonstration project was supposed to be in Duluth and they got Senator Prettner Solon to co-author a PRT bill.
Some suckers have actually bought stock based on these bogus resolutions and bogus bills.
Which City Council in Minnesota will be the next target of the PRT scam artists?
It only took 4 years. Now Winona is poised to be the next victim of the PRT con artists.
The question now is will the City Council of Winona perform due diligence and ask who the "possible private donors" are before they sign on to this current iteration of Ye Olde Pod Scam.