FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Greens and Republicans

You probably haven’t heard of it. It goes by the name of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), and it is fast becoming the latest fad of the Green Party and others.

So what is this PRT anyway? As Aaron Naparstek recently wrote in NY Press, “PRT is a computerized, driverless mass transit system. The passenger enters a sleek, four-person pod that is guaranteed to be waiting at the station, swipes a fare card, punches in a destination and goes. The pods run on a web of elevated tracks 16 feet above street level with stations every two or three blocks apart. PRT advocates promise transportation with no wait, no traffic and no smelly strangers.”

Even David Cobb, the anointed leader of the GP, has touted PRT as a “Green Technology” and trumped its potential benefits while “campaigning” in Minnesota last year. Dean Zimmerman a Minneapolis, Minnesota city councilman and GP member says that PRT “is going to be a major breakthrough in how people move around urban centers.” Zimmerman has even spoken publicly with right-wing Republicans to make a case for more public funds to study the technology.

Sounds odd. Are Republicans turning green on us? Or is the national Green Party losing its marbles? Sorry to say, it’s the latter.

In reality PRT has never worked despite over 30 years of research and development. Combining the small carrying capacity of a small car, with the expensive infrastructure of mass transit, PRT offers the worst of both worlds. Plus, it’s the brainchild of Ed Anderson’s private corporation Taxi 2000, who has already made a bundle of cash by convincing city and state governments that it is in their best interest to hand over phat research checks.

Although Los Angeles and Santa Cruz California have voted down proposals to allocate money to study the futuristic transit system, New Jersey, which has already appropriated $75,000 to PRT, plans to up that by $100,000 this coming year. While out in Minneapolis and Duluth, Greens and others are hoping their government will pony up the needed cash to go through with the PRT study.

Despite the past failures of PRT, hopes among its boosters remain high. Perhaps their hopes aren’t for a green public transit system; rather they hope PRT can continue to swindle even more loot out of government accounts.

“PRT is really a stalking horse for the pro-highway, anti transit lobby,” claims Ken Avidor who has kept a watchful eye on PRT in his home state on Minnesota. “It is supported by highway engineering firms, right-wing Republicans like [Minnesota] State Senator Michele Bachmann and Tom Delay.”

This new marriage surely makes for strange bedfellows, as Greens and Republicans seem to see eye to eye on the PRT boondoggle. Plus, Greens should know the history of those they are jumping into bed with.

The state of Illinois and Raytheon, the maker of “Bunker Buster” bombs, Tomahawk, Patriot missiles, and other assorted weaponry — has invested over $38 million to study PRT in the Chicago metro area.

“Though it all sounds very gee-whiz innocent, PRT is a major scam,” writes Naparstek in NY Press. “In Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Seattle, Chicago and elsewhere, PRT has burned through tens of millions of dollars of public and private investment. The only tangible result has been to clear the way for highway construction and make legitimate mass transit projects more difficult to build. In at least a few cases, after finally running PRT out of town, citizens learned that the public officials most enthusiastic about PRT had financial stakes in the companies developing it.”

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the forthcoming book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, to be released in early 2005 by Common Courage Press. He can be reached at: frank_joshua@hotmail.com

 

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail