I started blogging about then- Minnesota Senator Michele Bachmann seven years ago because of Bachmann's horrible record on transportation which included her support for Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), a crazy 50-year-old, pod-monorail-like concept that has sucked down hundreds of millions of public and private dollars for nothing. Bachman was joined in this effort by two of Minnesota's worst politicians - Mark Olson and Dean Zimmermann, both still pushing the pods.
Recently, the Duluth News Tribune reported that the pod hucksters have returned to Duluth:
Remember Taxi 2000 Corp. — the outfit that pitched building a monorail-type transit project in Duluth seven years ago?
That project fizzled when the city lost its bid to nab $24 million in state bonding money to jump-start the personal rapid transit, or PRT, system. But talk of bringing Taxi 2000 to town is back, thanks to Sandy Hoff and Alessandro Giuliani, two would-be developers of the former Lafarge site.
Giuliani and Hoff said they have been in discussions with Taxi 2000 recently about how Duluth could become the first community in the nation to demonstrate how the Fridley, Minn.-based company’s Skyweb Express system would work in the field.
Bachmann's pal Edwin Cain is the lobbyist for Taxi 2000 (Cain also lobbied for fraudster "Bobby Thompson"). The article has quotes from Michael Setty who wrote an excellent white paper about PRT in Winona. Taxi 2000 was the would-be pod vendor Michele Bachmann was talking about when she told MPR back in 2004:
Supporters range from Minneapolis City Council member Dean Zimmerman, a Green Party member, to Republican Sen. Michelle Bachmann of Stillwater. Bachmann says personal rapid transit, like many political issues, creates strange bedfellows.
"People on the right, people on the left, we have the common goal of moving people with transit, but doing it in the most cost-effective manner, in fact, in a manner that may end up costing no government subsidy, it may end up paying for itself," she says.
Reporters never bothered to ask Bachmann exactly HOW PRT could pay for itself. The media never bothered to ask questions like that. Reporters rarely mention the long and sorry history of PRT flops and fiascos. And so, the PRT boondoggle goes on and on to waste time and money. How many chances do these PRT guys get? As far as Tim Pawlenty was concerned, they get as many chances as the taxpayers will give them. MnDOT's workshop for the pods August 18th, 2010 was a big fiasco that included disgraced, former Mpls councilman Dean Zimmermann.
Of course, if Taxi 2000's grab last year for a taxpayer subsidy is any guide, this Duluth project will likely include a request for local bonding or other government pork subsidy ... and there are other pod projects that may get into the House Omnibus Transportation bill next session as they did in 2004.
Republicans like Phil Krinkie and and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer voted for one of Rep. Mark Olson's pod amendments (voted down 26 to 107 on April 12, 2006). Which probably explains why the Taxpayers League refuses to take a position on public funding of the pod boondoggle. There is little to zero support for public funding of PRT among DFL legislators and Governor Dayton does not support public funding of PRT. Transit for Livable Communities and the Sierra Club North Star oppose public funding for PRT.
Reporters need to ask candidate Bachmann if she will support PRT if she becomes President.
Recent Pod Flops and Fiascos:
Petulant PRT promoters acting up again.
Skytran in Detroit? Meet Skytran CEO.
Another Crackpot Personal Rapid Transit Proposal Bites the Dust (Almelo)
Strange Minnesota industry - 3 Proposed PRT Projects, 6 PRT Companies and 2 PRT Lobbyists.
Former Rep. Mark Olson Returns to Capitol as a lobbyist for would-be PRT vendor proposing $100 million pod project in Coon Rapids.
The CPRT table at U of M Jobs Fair. Convicted felon is spokesman for the CPRT.
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 (not a true PRT system) 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.
(Cross-posted at Dump Bachmann)