Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Real Estate Developer Proposes PRT for Duluth Waterfront Project

Many years ago, there was a lot of talk and some bills in the legislature about PRT in Duluth, but it never happened. But, after striking out in Winona last year, they're back in Duluth:

There has also been a lot of discussion about developing a marina, along with a transportation system called Skyweb Express.

"It's a pod car that moves on a rail and could be connected through the waterfront district and end up right inside a hotel lobby," says Hoff.

Sound expensive?

It would be but Hoff says there are opportunities to receive funding through bank financing and private equity firms.

Well, those banks and private equity firms are going to have a lot of fun figuring out exactly how much PRT costs.

Joe Lawlor at the Newport News Daily Press wrote an article about figuring the cost of PRT:

"Cost of pod cars not easy to find"

In my Friday story about Personal Rapid Transit, a pod-car system touted for Newport News and the Peninsula, I didn’t go into great detail about the cost aspect, except to say that an advocate estimated it would be 75 percent less costly than light rail.
If you didn’t read the story, the gist is that pod cars, carrying three to six people on a raised guideway, would zip to key locations on the Peninsula, as an alternative to buses and cars. The advantage of the pod car idea, according to advocates, is that it would take you where you want to go, without stopping or sitting next to people you don’t know.

Councilwoman Pat Woodbury is advocating the idea, pointing out that it would cost a lot less money than light rail, which is far off in the future for the Peninsula anyway.

Trying to find cost estimates on something that’s mostly theoretical like PRT is difficult. However, we’re going to try.

Read the whole thing.

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