Phil Spiller introduced our speaker and special guest on September 4, 2018 - Kristina Egan Executive Director of Greater Portland Council of Governments. Kristina has been with this organization 2 years and has lived in Maine for 8 years, during which she worked for Mass Transportation in Boston. Quite the daily commute!
Kristina considers herself an incurable optimist. She showed us a “word cloud” derived from a local survey conducted to identify a vision for our region.  Words are represented in larger or small type depending upon the number of times they were used. Prosperous, Sustainable, Thriving, and Vibrant top the list.
Transportation is a means to attain many of these ends - and there are a lot of things happening in transportation in our region.  Cumberland has a ride share program.  Transit West’s Husky Line was a very recent and important expansion of service through Westbrook and Gorham. Eastern Trail will soon be closing a gap in Scarborough. Some are looking at the opportunity for a rail side trail north of Portland. More communities, like Westbrook, are adding charging stations to improve electric car mobility.
To reach the goals of a prosperous, sustainable, thriving, vibrant region, we need to connect communities.   The role of GPCOG is to bring people together to build that future.  With a confusing number of funding sources and acronyms, and a need for cities and towns to commit funds as well, the work of bringing people together around co-ordinated plans can be a challenge.
Overall Metro ridership is strong, but there is always room to improve and optimize transit routes. Recently, GPCOG combined staff into a single team with PACTS (Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System) staff.  This will allow them to integrate their core mission of public health, energy and economic development with the Greater Portland region’s transportation funding decisions.
To learn more about CPCOG: