Proposed Boulder monorail uses technology to reduce traffic

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BOULDER, Colo. -- It would be the first transportation system of its kind in the world.

A magnetic pod monorail that would connect Boulder and Longmont.

The public got its first look at the proposed $250 million, privately-funded project Thursday night in Boulder.

“Traffic is pretty bad for the commuters,” Thomas Tweed of Boulder said.

It’s a bumper to bumper, stop-and-go grind. There are up to 45,000 cars traveling on Colorado 119/Diagonal Highway each day.

“It brings technology to the table. It brings new cutting edge ideas to the table,” SkyTran CEO R. Paul Williamson explained.

But a proposed project would move transportation off the ground and into the air.

Some are saying it’s “The Jetsons” made reality.

They’re not flying cars, but magnetic levitation vehicles.

The SkyTran system moves people high above the ground inside three-person pods by solar and hydrogen power.

“It takes care of all the problems we see with congestion, air pollution, fuel costs, all those things that are impacting our transportation system,” Williamson said.

SkyTran proposes a 15-mile monorail with seven stops starting in Boulder and ending in Longmont at the same cost of just one mile of light rail.

Williamson shared his insights with about four dozen people at a public meeting Thursday.

The new transportation technology moves some people, but not others.

“Just as we walk around with computers in our pockets, I think we are also at a time when we thinking about transportation that doesn’t involve tires rolling on the road and burning gasoline,” Leslie Glustrom said before the meeting.

“It’s actually unbelievably ridiculous. You’ve got a town of 200,000 connected to a town of 100,000 people and no specific location that you go to. It’s not like New York City where you have 3 buildings holding 200,000 people,” Curtis Jones of Boulder said.

The cost would run between $3 and $7.50 each way.

But first, it has to get right-of-way approval from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

If that happens, the company would need approval from the Federal Transit Administration via a test track.

SkyTran is also starting to fund a second part of the project that runs 7.5 miles and connects Longmont to I-25 near Firestone. That section would cost $100 million. It already has the money for the project's first phase.

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