Intercity Transit top dog in medium market

August 4th, 2009 by Ken

Intercity Transit today, received the award from the American Public Transportation Association as the BEST mid-sized transit system in the nation. 

Actually, they didn’t receive the award today.  That will be presented on October 6 in Orlando before the national meeting of transit systems, but for all practical purposes the award was presented today.

Some 150 people, most involved with transit of some sort, were on hand to hear a number of speakers talk about how important transit is, and how well Intercity Transit does it.

Congressman Adam Smith said that transit was a driver of economic development.  Smith said he was happy to be here in Olympia, a part of his district, to participate in the ceremony.  Unfortunately, Olympia is in Brian Baird’s district.  Smith has only half of Lacey in his district.

Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond pointed out that Intercity Transit was a leader in the state when it came to van pooling.  There are 2800 van pools in Washington and Intercity Transit has more than 200 of those, she said.

Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Authority Rick Krochalis, said that Intercity Transit was unique for the make-up of its governing board.  Of the eight members on the board, Krochalis pointed out, three were citizen representatives.  That’s not common among transit systems.

Keynote speaker and guest of honor was William Millar president of the American Public Transportation Association representing a 1500 membership group.  Millar said the award was for transit systems of 4 million to 30 million annual riders.  Intercity Transit has just over 5 million.

“There are 108 systems in the United States that meet that criteria,” Millar said.  “That makes Intercity Transit the best in North America.”

Tom Green, the chair of the Intercity Transit Board accepted the award on behalf of several special interest groups, including the taxpayers of Thurston County.   “Our citizens support transit even though most of them never ride the system,” he said.

Transit System Administratro Mike Harbour, who was singled out by the speakers as the main reason for the award,  announced that Senator Patty Murray had placed $1.8 million in the Senate Budget bill for Intercity Transit.

The final speaker was Les Purce, president of The Evergreen State College and a transit rider himself.  Purce acknowledged the cooperation between Intercity Transit and the college.  “Our partnership will only deepen in the future,” he said.

Olympia Councilmember Jeff Kingsbury emceed the event and acknowledged all of the different transit agencies present at the ceremony.

(The Olympian will have an editorial this week touting the award and giving congratulations to Harbour and his staff.)

Posted in The Real News

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