Get on the PRT

Dear Editor,

After reading Mr. Ruth's letter in last week's Post, I thought to myself "Get that man on the PRT team!" Every good team needs a Devil's advocate. Mr. Ruth is asking the right questions. Some of them are answered online at http://

Among the issues raised by Mr. Ruth is "visual intrusion." As technology has evolved, we have introduced various forms of "visual intrusion" including telegraph lines, railroad lines, overhead telephone and power wires, roads, freeways, airports and elevated LRT lines. (The intrusion of the road in front of my home goes beyond the mere visual when a stinking diesel-powered truck drives past leaving a deadly plume of stench behind.)

Because a PRT guideway is relatively small (about 3 feet by 3 feet) and routing is very flexible, many locations can be found in Milpitas where the visual intrusion is offset by the value it provides the neighborhood through which it runs.

Mr. Ruth also comments, "In my research, the overriding issue is cost." In my many years of study and experience, the overriding issue is politics. Most politicians and organizations are quite conservative and won't do something unless others have already done it. Thus we have our chicken-and-egg problem: cities are willing to consider PRT after others have done it first, but no city wants to be first.

Cost isn't really an issue for those of us who can count. For example, light rail (LRT) currently costs


about $60 million per bi-directional (both ways) mile, while PRT appears to cost about $20 million per bi-directional mile. If, VTA had spent their money on PRT to move people around instead of LRT, we could have three times as many transit miles enough to include a loop that serves the Sunnyhills neighborhood.

Many in that neighborhood must rely on infrequent and intermittent bus service to access regional transit (LRT and proposed BART) three miles away.

Cost isn't really an issue for the proposed railroad crossing either. Years ago, VTA offered us $2.4 million toward the cost of a $3-million steel-and-concrete pedestrian over crossing of the tracks. I'm sure they would be willing to provide 80 percent of the estimated $3 million for a PRT crossing at the same location. In fact, since we would be doing some ground breaking work on PRT, they might be willing to pick up 90 percent or more of the costs.

I believe that the Milpitas City Council should be rewarded by VTA for taking the risk of being the first politicians no, elected representatives to step forward on behalf of an innovative energy-efficient technology.

And how about some environmental foundation making a contribution to this endeavor?

Mr. Ruth starts his letter with the same question I want to end with: "Is this good for Milpitas?"

Although I believe the answer is "yes," a frank and public discussion of the topic is needed so our representatives know what Milpitans believe and want. Thank you, Mr. Ruth, for starting that discussion.

-Rob Means, Yellowstone Avenue

Distortion, speculation by whom?

Dear Editor,

Whenever you introduce articles or reports that can be researched there will always be an opening for criticism if it is found your references are lacking. In the Sept. 10 Letter to the Editor by Rob Means, previous writers were called to task because they stated that the current health care system is by far the best in the world. Space didn't allow for an elaboration to prove why. I add my two cents by pointing out that our health care system is better because we are not a socialized country as other countries are that have a national health care system. Suffice to say the Brits in their National Institute of Health (NIH) have horror stories too as do Canada, France

I suspect if the people who assembled the reference Comm-onwealth Fund report did a serious analysis on the difference between our current system of government and those in a socialized economy the results would be far different. Someone could say then maybe we need to socialize too. We have some socialized systems here already like Medicare, social security, post office, motor vehicle agencies; need I say more? I don't think it would be in our interest to experiment with our health care.

To address the comment the writer of that Letter proudly proclaims, "...the United States ranks 37th in world health care performance," I want to point out to today's reader this fact. The World Health Organization report that quote was lifted from was WHO's World Health Report, 2000. That means whatever data presented in that report was accumulated before 2000. Here we are in 2009. Anything change?

Regarding the Commonwealth Fund and the authors of the quotes this writer presents. Here are a couple of facts about the report. The disclaimer on the title page of the report says, "The views presented here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of The Commonwealth Fund or its directors, officers, or staff." Three of the authors are in the category of being officialdom of the Fund: One is the President and two are on major commissions. Also all of the authors constitute 44 percent of the authorship of the referenced source data; omission or commission?

The fund, on its website says that all reports are subject to internal or external peer review there is no attribution in this report to any such review. Conclusion?

The writer goes on to say the he seeks out individuals and organizations that hold values aligned with the teachings of Jesus Christ. I suppose that's a noble idea but how does that jibe with a government health care system. True our President is deemed to have Christ like qualities in his own world but in reality he can't make the lame walk, or the blind see, or the deaf hear and the only organization that can set up tax evasion plans and prostitution rings is ACORN the President's community organizing group.

The writer calls out for health reform now. He says that you will not get the change you seek if health care fails. I don't know whose health care he is talking about. My health care has been great and it will continue unless the health care he has in mind comes into being. His health care, being government subsidized, will drive mine out of business. Mine could not compete with the government plan that has endless money supply. They just print it.

Here's my suggestion:

Dump this current effort to take 1/6th of the nations GDP under control, which wouldn't be effective until 2013, and give your full attention to the task of saving those $500 billion you claim to be able to glean from cutting waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare now.

Do that and then maybe there would be some hope and change for a national health care system.

-Richard Ruth, Milpitas