North Star Chapter Position on Personal Rapid Transit

April 2, 2004

Whereas regional transit needs to be high speed, high capacity, cost-efficient, geographically comprehensive, uniform and safe in order to build ridership;

Whereas Minnesota is about to open its first light rail line and there is strong popular support for its first commuter rail line;

Whereas clean air, clean water and sensible urban development depend in part on and result in part from moving as many people as possible using as few resources as possible with feasible technologies that will attract riders;

Whereas Minnesota has historically underfunded transit;

Whereas no Personal Rapid Transit proposal has yet received majority financial backing from any government;

Whereas elevated concrete guideway on existing public right of way is regarded as incompatible by most residential and small business neighborhoods;

Whereas elevated concrete guideway threatens the urban forest of affected areas if routed along existing, tree-lined streets and roads;

Whereas elevated concrete guideway may preclude future forestation of public right-of-way in dense urban areas;

Whereas public safety and protection of public property requires a minimum level of manned presence on transit systems;

Whereas, automated vehicles not owned by individuals do not replicate the advantages of the personal, private automobile;

For these and other reasons,

Be It Resolved, the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

(1) supports light rail and commuter rail as the standards for regional transit in the Twin Cities Metro Area;

(2) does not believe that automated, small-cab vehicles on fixed public guideway can provide the cost-efficiency or environmental benefits of large-capacity vehicles on fixed public guideway;

(3) does not believe that automated, small-cab vehicles on fixed public guideway replicate the proprietary attractions of the privately owned, controlled, personal automobile and consequently cannot substitute themselves, in open competition, for any meaningful share of the current private vehicle fleet;

(4) supports the concentration of available public funding on initial and expansion legs of light and commuter rail;

(5) opposes diversion of scarce public transit dollars, either capital or operating, to the development and operation of automated, small-cab vehicles on fixed public guideway for general transit purposes;

(6) does not oppose the study and possible use of automated, small-cab vehicles on fixed public guideway for limited geographic and functional sites such as airports or large educational or business campuses, as long as such systems are financed by the entities being served.