Whitmore Lake visionary Justin Sutton was the star of the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce Livingston Energy Summit and Expo held Friday (Oct. 30, 2009) as he explained his transportation system that he proposes to be built along the interstate highway system.
How could he not be the star? Promising a 200 mile per hour transportation system that will generate solar power, purify water, process sewage, and produce soil for growing food -- all with zero emissions -- while creating thousands of jobs, and providing billions in annual revenue to federal, state, and local governments without costing taxpayers anything -- I mean, how do you top that?
The system is highly visionary. I'll certainly take Sutton's word for its technical feasibility. He knows the science. I sure don't.
I do wonder about a few things. For example, in May 2008, Sutton told an interviewer that he was "on track to break ground in 2009."
When I asked Sutton about that, he said he is ready to break ground, but is waiting for the state to give him the go-ahead. He also said he has offers from around the world to build the system but is waiting for Michigan because he wants to give his home state the first chance to build this system. And he insists the financing is in place from "railroad bonds" and from his 180 partners. I would think his 180 partners might be getting a little antzy to accept one of those other offers instead of waiting for Michigan.
Sutton told the energy expo that a proposed Detroit to Ann Arbor line would generate $2 billion a year in revenue and half would be paid to the government, split among federal, state and local government, as well as entities such as museums and libraries.
"We will become a very, very important taxpayer in the nation," he said.
In other words, he and his private company would become a very powerful person in state and local government. Before Michigan turns over so much power to one group, it needs to know exactly whom it is dealing with. Sutton certainly loves Michigan and is putting his state's interests first, but he won't live forever or even necessarily be in charge forever. The public needs to know a little more about who is behind him. Sutton graciously said I could visit his office and see the list of investors. I intend to follow up. I like to look before I leap.