Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winona Daily News - "Leaders line up to support PRT"

Winona Daily News:

The city of Winona has formally requested nearly $25 million in federal funding to test a futuristic transit technology, a proposal that has already garnered support from local businesses and colleges, state transportation officials and a major California metropolitan area.

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Some of that support may be impacted by the new, shorter route. A preliminary layout shown to Winona City Council members last month showed the elevated guideway would loop through the East End near Hwy. 61, with planned stops at Southeast Tech and Winona Health and near Target and Fleet Farm. The shorter route has only three stops, including Southeast Tech. But it only briefly crosses onto the north side of Hwy. 61, no longer venturing as far as Target, Fleet Farm or Winona Health, which submitted a letter of support.

This is the former route:

The city would administer the grant funding, including project bidding, the application states. The matching grant for the federal funding would be $5 million in preliminary work already completed by Taxi 2000, a Fridley, Minn., firm the city has been working with on the proposal.

If the funding is approved, construction would begin in September 2011, the application states. The lab would be on line in March 2013.

The lab, once online, will be owned and managed by the Partnership Center, which will have three staff members, including a director, and a board of directors with private, public and institutional members, the application states.

The entire proposal is contingent on the large infusion of federal funding, however. The city should learn in April if the project will receive the requested grant.

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