Monday, March 7, 2011

Former Rep. Mark Olson Returns to Capitol as a Lobbyist for Personal Rapid Transit Company

Remember Mark Olson?

If you don't, you can read about his antics as State Representative at the Dump Mark Olson Blog. Rep. Mark Olson is perhaps best known for his arrest and conviction for endangering his wife... from Wikipedia.:

On November 11, 2006, days after winning re-election Olson was arrested in Blaine after police were called to his Big Lake home. According to the criminal complaint, Olson’s wife Heidi told investigators that after an argument Olson pushed her to the ground three times. Olson later admitted to having taken his wife by the shoulders and "placing" her on the ground, according to the police report. After spending two nights in jail, Olson was charged with two misdemeanor counts of fifth degree domestic assault....

...Olson was convicted of domestic assault by intending to cause fear of bodily harm against his wife. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm. Olson publicly commented on the verdict by saying "I don't believe I had any intent to cause fear, but anger can cause fear and I did get angry." The Republican members voted to officially expel him from their caucus in early December 2007....

He was voted out of office, but apparently he's back at the Capitol... as a lobbyist.

According to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure board's website Rep. Mark Olson is back at the Capitol lobbying for a company called "Smart Infrastructure":

Rob Jacobs of Brooklyn Park is listed as the President of Smart Infrastructure. Rob Jacobs is a longtime pod promoter, As head of the non-profit "Starting Line Foundation" a while back, Jacobs proposed a pod/stadium scheme to the Legislature. You can download a PDF of the wacky plan at this page on the House website.

Rob Jacobs is also President and Senior Partner at PRT Partners, LLC.

Recently, Rob Jacobs pitched the pods to Coon Rapids:

COON RAPIDS, Minn. -- A new mode of transportation could one day connect Northstar train riders to stores and businesses in the Riverdale area.

It's called "Personal Rapid Transit" or PRT. The system runs on specially-built tracks. The idea is being pitched by a local businessman.

"It's no waiting, no stopping, aways have a seat, always ready."

Pod cars used for Personal Rapid Transit can take you non-stop to your destination. It's an old idea that would use new, smaller vehicles with seating for five.

Robert Jacobs with Smart Infrastructure pitched the idea this week at a City Council worksession. He's says the system would connect the Northstar Commuter Rail station with key areas of Coon Rapids.

And the pricetag for the pods ... hold on to your hat...

County officials also saw the PRT presentation at the worksession. It's clear that everyone's interested in a self-sustaining project. The estimated cost of the project is $100 million.

UPDATE: According to another article in the ABC newspapers, the cost of the pod project in Coon Rapids just went up:

According to Nevinski, Jacobs, when making his presentation to the council, estimated the cost to build the system at $112 million.

Recent news about the ongoing, worldwide pod boondoggle:

The CPRT table at U of M Jobs Fair.

Daventry citizens say "Pods Off" to PRT TWICE!

Duluth News Tribune article about Taxi 2000 trying to restart Duluth pod project - hilarious comments.

The Pawlenty administration wasted thousands of taxpayers' dollars promoting personal rapid transit .

PRT is so not happening at Heathrow.

Pod people invade Newport News ( the article quotes retired professor Vukan Vuchic)

Bizarre hearing for wacky Jpods proposal for Hull, Massachusetts. Video: Bill James Pitches Jpods Resolution to Hennepin County.

Taxi 2000 Corporation spent nearly $80K on lobbying in Minnesota in 5 years. Taxi 2000 lobbyist and Bachmann pal Ed Cain also lobbied for the phony U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity.

Federal Funding Nixed for Winona Personal Rapid Transit Project

The Swedish/Korean PRT prototype malfunctioned in front of the media.

The Masdar PRT (actually computer-guided golf carts that follow magnets imbedded in the roadway) has been scaled way back, This setback got a mention in the NY Times and confirmed in this Bloomberg article. New post-mortem: "Masdar City Abandons Transportation System of the Future".

The so-called Morgantown PRT (it's a mundane people-mover) was the subject of a student newspaper editorial after a malfunction created a "fireball" and filled a vehicle with smoke. The cost of fixing the Morgantown boondoggle is $93 million. Twitter Reveals Morgantown WVU Personal Rapid Transit's Frequent Breakdowns.

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