Last year, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin created the 12-member “Governor’s Coordinated Transportation Task Force to improve transportation services for Alaskans with special needs.” Under Administrative Order 243, the Task Force will “coordinate and integrate community-based public transportation services to benefit persons with special needs” and “advise the governor on developing policy for the state’s existing special-needs transportation programs” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶1-2).
On February 13, 2009, Governor Palin announced her appointment of the Task Force’s 12 “appointees [including] representatives from the various communities requiring services, as well as from state and federal government agencies with responsibilities for providing transportation and other services” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶5).
“In a state as large as ours, it is critical that citizens with special challenges can get around their communities to access their schools, jobs, friends, stores, doctors or any place they need or want to go,” Governor Palin said. “I appreciate the members of this task force for stepping forward to help Alaskans meet and overcome their mobility challenges” (Transportation, 2009, Â¶3).
Most people may not realize it, but yes there is mass transit in Alaska. The city of Anchorage has buses called “People Mover” (People Mover, n.d.); Wasilla also has buses (Mat-Su Transit, 2009). Governor Palin’s task force might lead to the addition of an “Access-a-Ride” type service that is used in New York City and Anchorage. These service use sedans and custom-modified vans to transport the elderly and disabled from their homes to wherever they need to go for the same cost as as a normal bus or subway fare (MTA Paratransit, 2009).
Governor Palin saw a need that was not being fulfilled. She created a board to address that need, then sought out experts to constitute the board. As noted in prior entries, board appointments on the surface appear to be routine and mundane. They are part of a governor’s workaday life. A leader is only as effective as the people who report to him or her. Governor Palin is known for making excellent hiring decisions — something she receives little credit for. Her hiring decisions are a key reason why her administration is effective and even despite some of the vitriol being spewed by enemies enjoys an 80%+ approval rating.
MASCOT. (2009). Mat-Su Transit. Retrieved February 15, 2009 from: http://www.matsutransit.com/
Members of transportation task force appointed by Governor Palin. (2009, February 13). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved February 15, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1651
On the move. Access-a-Ride. (2009). Metropolitan Transit Authority NYC Transit. Retrieved February 15, 2009 from: http://www.mta.info/nyct/paratran/onthemove.htm
People Mover. (n.d.) Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska. Retrieved February 15, 2009 from: http://www.muni.org/transit1/index.cfm