Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Monday, March 29, 2010

The PRTista-In-Chief

President Barack Obama's Department of Transportation has decided on an upgrade for the Personal Rapid Transit system at West Virginia University, that institution has announced:

WVU has been awarded a Federal Transit Authority [sic] grant that, along with allocated student transportation fee monies, will pay for a portion of the upgrades to the PRT.


"The overall goal is to erase intermittent problems through new and upgraded technology in order to provide a more positive passenger experience by making the PRT more dependable," said John Jeffrey, PRT project manager.


The VCCS, or brains of the vehicle, will be the first system upgraded. These onboard computers communicate with electrical systems on the PRT guideway and at the passenger stations about vehicle movement all along the system.

The VCCS has been redesigned by Azimuth Inc., a Morgantown engineering firm, and is currently being tested by Lea & Elliot, a third-party independent validation and verification firm.

"At present, we are about halfway through the verification process and hope to have the initial VCCS arrive at the PRT in mid-September," Jeffrey said.

Eleven new VCCS will be installed during the first phase of the project, with the remaining 61 to be replaced during the second phase with an overall cost of $3.6 million.

Another two-phase design, build and install project a will be the upgraded PRT Propulsion System. Like the VCCS conversion, the propulsion system will switch from analog to digital control and communication to improve reliability.

"The PRT has just signed a contract with Bombardier of Pittsburgh to build a prototype, and we hope to have an initial propulsion system by August 2011," said Jeffrey.


This is not the action Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist Ken Avidor has recommended for the world's first PRT. In fact, the FTA has done exactly the opposite:
"Time to pull the plug on the WVU PRT boondoggle." -Ken Avidor


If Ken Avidor is going to be consistent, he's going to have to call Barack Obama a gadgetbahner. He's going to have to say Obama is a PRTista just like Michele Bachmann. And we won't have long to wait until Avidor puts this on the web:

Oh wait-


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Still waiting

There's been some movement on the Winona, MN federal funding request for its PRT Lab project with Taxi 2000.

And we're all still waiting for the dark, scam-my, pork-y backroom deal Ken Avidor had practically promised reader of his PRT Moondoggie blog. Remember?

Who are the "Possible Private Donors" for the Winona PRT Project?

The Winona Post has an article on the pods of Winona... I wrote about a similar pitch for a PRT resolution back in December 23, 2005...

...The PRTers have pulled variations of this scam in Duluth, Minneapolis, and Rochester. They convince some well-meaning councilmembers to vote for a resolution saying they are "considering" or "studying" a PRT project for their city.

The anti-LRT/anti-Northstar bunch (Bachmann and Mark Olson are prominent Northstar haters and PRT boosters) in the legislature use the resolutions to convince DFLers to vote for their anti-transit PRT bills because a PRT project in their district smells like pork. That's the Democratic Party for you, the Dems will eagerly hang themselves if the rope is made of pork.


Ken is always going on and on about how PRT is Republican and right-wing, and yet did you just notice what he did? He says "PRTers" "convince" local councils to support PRT -- but doesn't specify how the convincing happens.

It must happen like magic. He just needs it to be taken as read -- meaning he can explain away any support for PRT by any government jurisdiction and by any official, whether liberal or conservative. That's how Avidor's conspiracy theory works.

And notice how Avidor slams Democrats who secure federal funds for their districts -- even though for nearly three decades Minnesota has received less federal spending than taxes paid.

This is the reality of the funding process:

Walz listening on earmark requests

U.S. Rep Tim Walz has received requests for more than $280 million in earmarks for Winona-area projects, including $25 million to test transit technology in Winona and $26 million for preliminary work on a high-speed rail route along the Mississippi River.

Walz, DFL-Minn., last week posted on his Web site the nearly 100 federal funding applications from local governments and nonprofit organizations throughout his district. The earmarks target money already appropriated in the federal budget.
The congressman submitted 44 projects from his district last year, and his selections this year will be posted March 19 on his Web site. "He is looking for projects whose requesters share his commitment to transparency and accountability," [spokesperson Sara] Severs said.


One funding application, in competition with nearly 100 others, with criteria that includes "transparency and accountability." And reported in the media!  Where's the beefy scam, Ken?

Yes, the request to Walz (and also insurance proposals to Sens. Franken and Klobuchar) is an earmark -- now. As we can deduce from the cover letter of this package, the request to Walz is the backup ask, therefore the original grant request was rejected. So it's still a fact that when Avidor was claiming Winona was seeking an earmark, they weren't.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mock Journalist, Part VIII

Snow Job

©MMX PRT Is a Joke IS A JOKE! and Get On Board!PRT NewsCenter

Ken Avidor's recent postings (1 , 2) about the Vectus test track technical problem in the snow reported by media in Uppsala, Sweden, are just so quintessentially Avidor. Because they bear the hallmarks of his 'reporting'--

  • The broad, baseless generalization ("FAIL")
  • No value-added: clipping news written by others, adding no substantive comments of his own
  • Going to an expert for an opinion that just-so-happens to be PRT Moondoggie-compatible

As readers of PRT Is a Joke IS A JOKE and the Mock Journalist series know, Ken never goes directly to the source to get the facts first-hand. He (and this time his expert) just engages in guesswork that nurtures his predetermined, PRT-is-a-Joke, buy-my-book objective.

He leaves that grunt work to me -- Mr_Grant, PRT NewsCenter editor, and Perhaps The New Leading Skeptic of PRT®. In this case, it meant the arduous task of sending an email to a public Vectus address. Read my exclusive ex-po-zay of this (it turns out) non-story here, at The NewsCenter.

Was it ghosts? (March 4): "'bump' in the night": Avidor ally Michael Setty needs problem to stay unknowable, disbelieves Vectus' explanation

UPDATE (March 30): Michael Setty's candidatefor Napa supervisor is a property-rights activist and founder of the Napa Valley Taxpayers Alliance 

* in a Letter-To-The-Editor in which Setty also attacks public employees and public employee unions.

gPRT you're welcome AGAIN, Ken. What do you say--?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Both side now

Because "PRT Is a Joke" IS A JOKE! and Get On Board PRT are objective news sources, I report both sides of Personal Rapid Transit developments, the negative as well as positive. And I beat Ken Avidor to it. In order to get material for his PRT Moondoggie blog, all he has to do is scoop up the negative news from my Twitter feed and discard the positive.

I say it here,

Getting #Vectus test route harder than expected - no snow problems, but glitches during reporter visit http://bit.ly/bV0Baz #prt #podcars

March 1, 2010 11am PST

and it comes out there:
Vectus PRT - FAIL

March 1, 2010 2:03 pm PST

That's how Avidor covers 'both side' in PRT news. Once again: you're welcome, Ken