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Workshop Aims to Bring Cargo Airships to Alaska

Senator McGuire calls airships a “game changer” for Alaska’s economy and communities 
 

ANCHORAGE-Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, spoke this week at the 3rd Cargo Airships for Northern Operations Workshop, which is being hosted by the state’s Department of Transportation at the University of Alaska-Anchorage from July 10th through July 12th.  The workshop is focused on how to facilitate the establishment of a strong cargo airship industry for customers in Alaska and other Northern areas.

“Air cargo ships in Alaska are a game changer,” said Senator McGuire.  “For our rural communities, they would provide simple, cheap transportation of goods, fuel deliveries during the winter, and the transportation of heavy construction equipment to wherever they are needed.  This would cut down the cost of living significantly because it creates the ability to move anything to almost anywhere during anytime of the year.”

The workshop is being co-hosted by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Alaska University Transportation Center, University of Alaska-Anchorage, ISO Polar, and the Airship Association in collaboration with the NASA Ames Research Center.   The workshop is broken down into several different sessions including speakers who will share their insights on specific cargo airship user needs, airship capabilities, and necessary infrastructure (physical and administrative) to bring the industry to Alaska.   In addition to the speaker presentations, the workshop has also been designed to provide ample opportunities for informal networking, exchange of ideas, and generation of potential business opportunities for cargo airship development and deployment.

“Airships are an engineered solution to the problems that Alaska faces going forward,” said Senator McGuire.  “We have the demand, the industry has engineered a solution and now all we need is a business model.”

Airships would not only help Alaska’s rural communities immensely, they would also help the oil, mining and other industries as well, which would boost jobs and create more economic opportunities around Alaska.

“We have spoken of our stranded resources for years.  Airships are a way to access them while reducing or eliminating the need for roads through pristine areas or on federal land,” said Senator McGuire.  “For my part in this, I plan on looking at ways to create a public-private partnership to bring airships to Alaska, perhaps using the SETS fund that I helped create in the Legislature a couple of years ago which provides loans and loan guarantees for energy and transmission projects throughout the state as a model to create these partnerships. I look forward to discussing this further with my colleagues during next Session.”

To see more about the workshop, you can go to http://event.arc.nasa.gov/airships/2013Workshop.

For more information, please contact Jesse Logan in Senator McGuire’s office at (907) 269-0250.

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