(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Northern Region, is inviting Alaskans to participate in six community engagement meetings scheduled across Interior Alaska. The goal of the public meetings is to lead a constructive dialogue around the fiscal challenges facing the department and discuss impacts of proposed cuts.
All state agencies are working with reduced operating budgets due to low oil prices. This will impact all modes of transportation, including highway maintenance. Though it is early in the budget process, six maintenance camps are recommended for closure or reduced operations. The camps that would close are: Northway Maintenance Station, O’Brien Creek Maintenance Station, Chitina Maintenance Station, Birch Lake Maintenance Station and Central Maintenance Station. The Thompson Pass Maintenance Station would become a seasonal camp, only operating during winter months.
These meetings are an opportunity for Alaskans to hear from department officials, ask questions and present potential solutions regarding short and long-term operating possibilities for the department.
Six meetings have been scheduled at following times and locations:
Northway: Jan. 11, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., presentation at 12 p.m., Northway Community Hall (Northway Maintenance Station)
Tok: Jan. 11, 5-6:30 p.m., presentation at 5:30 p.m., Tok School Library (O’Brien Creek Maintenance Station)
Kenny Lake: Jan. 12, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., presentation at 12 p.m., Kenny Lake Community Hall (Chitina Maintenance Station)
Valdez: Jan. 12, 5-6:30 p.m., presentation at 5:30 p.m., Valdez Convention and Civic Center (Thompson Pass Maintenance Station – seasonal)
Salcha: Jan. 14, 5-6:30 p.m., presentation at 5:30 p.m., Salcha Seniors Center (Birch Lake Maintenance Station)
Central: Jan. 15, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., presentation at 12 p.m., Central M&O Station (Central Maintenance Station)
Each meeting, with the exception of Northway (due to limited connectivity), will also be available via teleconference for anyone who cannot attend in person. The toll free number to participate is: 1-800-315-6338, conference code 89941#. The line will open five minutes prior to the scheduled presentation time for each meeting. In the event of any technical difficulties, meetings will be recorded and posted online at www.dot.alaska.gov.
Submitted by Meadow Bailey