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Alaska DOT&PF, Northwest Arctic Borough Partner in Regional Planning Organization

KOTZEBUE, AK — Residents of the Northwest Arctic Borough have a new partnership with Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) supporting the development of transportation projects in their region. In a signing ceremony, DOT&PF’s Judy Chapman, Deputy Director of Planning, and the Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Dickie Moto, Sr. signed a cooperative agreement establishing a Regional Planning Organization (RPO).

The RPO establishes a vehicle for the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) and DOT&PF to work together on transportation development priorities for the Northwest Arctic Census area of Alaska. It is the third RPO to be created in the past year, following the Copper Valley in August 2022, and the Fairbanks North Star Borough in January 2023.

“The formation of the RPO will allow the region to amplify its voice with respect to transportation planning decisions that affect it. We look forward to working with the new NAB RPO,” Chapman said.

This pilot RPO will ensure regional and local input to identify local transportation needs and allow for better planning, prioritization, and decision making with DOT&PF’s capital project development.

There are several different types of transportation planning organizations, such as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and a Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO). Each of these planning organizations, including the RPO, is formed to give communities a voice in transportation planning and spending.

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The new RPO, the first in western Alaska, encompasses 11 communities, including Kotzebue, Noorvik, Selawik, and Deering, as well as the Red Dog Mine. The population of the Northwest Arctic Borough is approximately 7,800, according to the 2020 census.

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