Bill James, founder and CEO of the would-be Personal Rapid Transit vendor Jpods, dropped in on the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority meeting yesterday to urge the county to adopt a resolution to give Jpods the right-of-way to build PRT in Hennepin County.
James cites the Morgantown WVU PRT as a big success. The Morgantown PRT (not really a PRT) is in fact a dangerous and expensive boondoggle that has prompted students to create a Twitter account to keep track of the PRT's frequent breakdowns.
James says there there are three companies in Minnesota that can build PRT and create "several hundred jobs in Minnesota in the next 12 months" - that's total nonsense.
Bill James then asked for "a favor" - a resolution that would give companies that claim they could build transit systems that are privately-funded, getting all their revenue from the fair-box "non-exclusive access to rights-of-way". Bill James also claims he has agreements to build Jpods in China.
Bill James said he wants to build Jpod "feeder lines" to connect to the Hiawatha LRT.
Commisioner Jeff Johnson asked Bill James about PRT in Winona. Bill James says the PRT project in Winona is "progressing" and the city of Winona is "going forward" with the PRT project. It is doubtful that the Winona PRT project can go forward without money.... and there is none. The Winona Daily News reported August 31st that federal funding for PRT was nixed. The Winona PRT project failed to get an earmark. The project could not get any money from the legislature either.
And the commissioners listen to this stuff for 5 minutes... Hilarious!
Here's Bill James pitching Jpods in Cupertino, California: