Pinellas Park Council Member Is Transportation Agency Award Winner
The purpose of the award is to recognize an elected official who has demonstrated his/her support to those who are transportation disadvantaged.
PINELLAS PARK – Council member Patti Johnson has been named the Elected Official of the Year by the state Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged.
“I am humbled by this special recognition and could not have done it alone,” Johnson said “I would like to thank all of those who have dedicated their time and effort to improving transportation options in order to increase the freedom of mobility for those in need. I will continue to remain steadfast in advocating for transportation assistance for the elderly, handicapped and disadvantaged and am honored to receive this prestigious award.”
Johnson, who has served on the Pinellas Park council since 2012, was nominated by Forward Pinellas, the county agency formed by the merger of the Pinellas Planning and Metropolitan Planning organizations. In the nomination, Forward Pinellas set out the reasons for nominating Johnson.
Johnson, it said, “is a strong advocate of the transportation disadvantaged through her work as an elected official and as a court appointed guardian and elder care consultant. Councilmember Johnson, a Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board member, first joined the Pinellas County Local Coordinating Board in 2013 and has served as the chair since 2014. Under her direction, the LCB has incorporated regular presentations from community groups, local nonprofit agencies, and entities who work with related populations into its meetings.
“Upon learning of the need for more transportation disadvantaged funding in Pinellas County, Councilmember Johnson met with other elected officials to try to secure additional funding. When she learned that [there were more than $1 million in unused funds for the transportation disadvantaged that] went back to the state, Councilmember Johnson went to TD Day in Tallahassee in 2016. She was the first Pinellas County LCB member in many years to participate in TD Day. While there, and after her return, Councilmember Johnson advocated for the needs of the transportation disadvantaged and informed the Legislators of these returned funds and Pinellas’ need for them. At the end of the session, the Legislature had allocated additional funds to serve the transportation disadvantaged.
“Councilmember Johnson successfully advocated with PSTA’s Board of Directors to include an ‘LCB Update’ along with other committee updates at every PSTA Board meeting. Both in this capacity and throughout PSTA board and committee meetings, Ms. Johnson points out opportunities and occasions when the needs of the transportation disadvantaged need to be considered. She meets with her constituents, often the elderly, and talks to them about transportation and transportation options. If she cannot address their concern herself, she brings it up to those who can, often in a public forum, to make sure that their needs are being met and so that others who have not spoken up but feel similar concerns can benefit as well….
“One of the most visible outcomes from Councilmember Johnson’s guidance and direction for the LCB has been initiating a change from Pinellas County [emergency medical services] to now allow stretcher transportation service outside of ambulances in non-emergency situations. The change was desired by the LCB for over a decade prior, but only under Ms. Johnson’s Chairmanship has this change become a reality. It required Pinellas County EMS study and agreement, support from the County’s Medical Control Board and Pinellas County Board of County Commissioner action. This is something Councilmember Johnson, the LCB and Pinellas County EMS have worked together on and encouraged that will provide cost-savings and increase capacity of ambulance services.”
The nomination quoted PSTA board member and LCB vice chair Brian Scott “As chairwoman of the Pinellas County LCB, Patti has been a tireless and passionate advocate for the transportation disadvantaged. Whether it is managing the transportation providers, overall program oversight, or taking her own time to travel to Tallahassee and meet with legislative leaders with ideas to enhance the program, she recognizes the TD community depends on this program to provide for so many of life’s basic sustaining needs. I can think of no better person more deserving of this aware than Patti Johnson.”
For information about the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, go to fdot.gov.
Photo courtesy of Patti Johnson.
Pinellas Park | Patti Johnson | Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged | TB Reporter
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