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Governor Parnell Proclaims October 21-27 as Public Transportation Week

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – This week community leaders and state officials from across Alaska will meet in Anchorage for the 2012 Community Transportation Transit Conference.

Running from October 23-25, the event is sponsored by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) with help in part from the Alaska Mobility Coalition. The theme for this year’s conference is “Coordinated Transportation in the Last Frontier!” and will cover topics dealing with the present and future of public transportation in Alaska.

This past May Governor Sean Parnell signed into law House Bill 131, establishing the Alaska Community and Public Transportation Advisory Board aimed at helping seniors and people with disabilities have a better voice in state transportation planning.  This last year alone, community transit programs provided an estimated seven million rides across Alaska.

“Community transportation programs play an important role in both rural and urban Alaska,” said DOT&PF Acting Commissioner Pat Kemp. “Whether it’s a small vanpool or a large transit operation, these programs provide safe and reliable transportation to Alaskans.”

Signifying the importance of public transportation, Governor Sean Parnell has proclaimed October 21-27, 2012 as Public Transportation Week. The proclamation reads:

WHEREAS, public transportation is an important resource for Alaskan communities, giving access to jobs, businesses, healthcare, and recreation; and

WHEREAS, Alaska’s transit systems provide more than seven million rides annually, offering an economical and reliable method of everyday transportation for Alaskans; and

WHEREAS, in 2011, the Governor’s Coordinated Task Force determined in a statewide Needs Assessment that over 80,000 Alaskans may not be able to obtain adequate transportation through personal resources or the assistance of friends and family; and

WHEREAS, the Task Force also found that the need for high-capacity, accessible transportation options increases as Alaska’s elderly population continues to grow – a fact also attested to by other groups; and

WHEREAS, the Alaska State Legislature in 2012 created the Alaska Community and Public Transportation Advisory Board in order to strategically plan to meet such needs, as well as authorizing grant funds to be used in matching community and public transportation providers across Alaska; and

WHEREAS, increasing numbers of Americans are turning to public transportation in order to save money during these times of economic uncertainty and high gasoline prices. The American Public Transit Association found in 2012 that Americans using public transportation can save, on average, $821 a month, or $9,854 annually; and

WHEREAS, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Mobility Coalition are hosting the Alaska Community Transit Conference in Anchorage on October 23 – 25, 2012, with the theme “Coordinated Transportation in the Last Frontier.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sean Parnell, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim October 21 – 27, 2012 as:

Public Transportation Week

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskan residents who live in communities served by our many dedicated transit service providers to consider, this week and all year, the benefits of using public transportation as an affordable, safe, and convenient way to travel.

For more information about the 2012 Community Transportation Transit Conference please visit www.act-dot.com.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 255 airports, 11 ferries serving 35 communities, 5,619 miles of highway and 720 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to Get Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.

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