counter statistics

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ray Cox Claims there is a PRT Facility in Duluth.. and There is None

Remember Judy Dutcher's E85 flap?

How about a politician who claiims there is a quarter-mile demonstration PRT system up in Duluth?

Ray Cox supported Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) on his blog in 2004.

The election is January 3rd.

MN House website:


ST. PAUL - On the heels of the recent announcement that the state deficit is falling thanks to a rise in job growth, State Representative Ray Cox (R-Northfield) is co-authoring legislation that would create more new jobs, showcases Minnesota technology, and puts consumers in the driver’s seat of public transit services.

“The February budget forecast recently noted the reason for the declining deficit is an increase in new jobs,” Cox said. “The Personal Rapid Transit project will continue this trend by providing hundreds more good-paying jobs for Minnesota workers. At a time when Minnesota is looking to expand its job base and lure new business to the state, PRT already provides all the necessary ingredients: local technology, a willing community, and an eager workforce.”

Cox said Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a very innovative automated transit system developed right here in Minnesota, and the bill he is co-authoring would provide the Duluth Transit Authority with incentives to construct a PRT safety certification facility. It operates on demand; PRT passenger vehicles wait at stations for riders, not vice versa. As designed, PRT passengers would select an empty vehicle; swipe a pre-paid card; and enjoy a private, computer-run trip that would take them non-stop to their selected destination. The computer system automatically selects the fastest, most convenient non-stop route for passengers, and would be available 24/7. In addition, unlike any other system, PRT infrastructure and vehicles are fully mass-producible and can be quickly erected on site.

Cox said there are many benefits to PRT, including its high efficiency and low pollution rate. But Cox said the most important benefit may be a new job base.

“Once I discovered how many new jobs the project could create, co-authoring this bill became a no-brainer,” Cox said. “If we don’t act to keep PRT, this system and hundreds of jobs will most likely be exported to some other state.”

I emailed Ray Cox recently if he still supports PRT and he replied November 13th:

I have continued to like the concept of PRT for a number of reasons. I think the ability for the car modules to go off line to the stops, keeping the line service flowing, is a great feature. I also like the concept of elevating it so ground space is only taken up by the support standards. Let me know if you have specific questions.

-Ray Cox

Ray Cox asserted his support for PRT during a debate:

My LTE to the Northfield News:

To the editor:

At the Senate District 25 candidate forum Dec. 20, candidate Ray Cox describes himself and the Independent candidate Vance Norgaard as "PRT guys."

Ray Cox was referring to "Personal Rapid Transit." PRT is an infeasible, controversial transportation concept which has been wasting the time of citizens and public officials for over 30 years. There are no working PRT systems anywhere in the world.

Cox also says there is a 1/4 mile Personal Rapid Transit demonstration project in Duluth. That is not true.

Ray Cox also said PRT has "a lot of potential" and "the state should get behind it".

Ray Cox is misinformed. PRT is a classic boondoggle. There isn't a community in Minnesota that would willingly cut down half the trees on their streets for a monorail-like structure with a view into their second-story windows.

PRT was promoted heavily in 2004 by Rep. Mark Olson (recently ejected from the House GOP caucus) and former Minneapolis Councilman Dean Zimmermann (now serving a sentence for bribery).

Rep. Mark Olson's PRT bills in 2004 would have allowed Duluth (or Minneapolis) to bond for PRT, but those bills never made it past the conference committee.

Rep. Margaret Kelliher said in 2004 that PRT had "junk bond status"... she was right then and she is still right. PRT is a boondoggle that has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in cities around the world.

Even if PRT was everything its promoters claim it to be, PRT is not funded by the federal government as they do with conventional transportation infrastructure projects ... Minnesota taxpayers would have to pay for the ENTIRE cost of developing the technology AND building a system (if it were possible) that would cost billions of dollars just for the metro area alone.

I hope the voters of SD 25 elect a senator who supports proven, conventional transportation initiatives. Minnesota does not need more fiscally imprudent legislators eager to risk scarce public dollars on pie-in-the-sky concepts like PRT.

Ken Avidor


Read more about Ray Cox and PRT in the comments at Locally Grown.

It's too bad that politicians who promote PRT are never asked intelligent questions about it by the media. I hope that reporters will ask Michele Bachmann why she supported PRT when she was in the Minnesota legislature and ask her if she still supports PRT.