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Swanson Award Background

This award is dedicated to the spirit and motivation of the late Thomas Lawrence Swanson, a former executive director of Pima Association of Governments. Mr. Swanson distinguished himself throughout his career by working in cooperation with all segments of our community to address regional issues such as transportation, population growth, and air and water quality.

Thomas Swanson served as executive director of PAG from 1977 through 2002. As executive director of PAG, Tom, as he was affectionately referred to, helped guide a variety of federally mandated regional transportation planning programs, including Rideshare and the Travel Reduction Programs. Tom also guided efforts to bring the PAG region into air quality attainment after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the region in non-compliance with carbon monoxide standards of the Clean Air Act Amendments. He helped develop the region's first 208 water quality plan and was instrumental in development of Casa Grande Resolves, an intergovernmental agreement designed to provide fair and reasonable transportation funding statewide. This agreement provided as much as a sevenfold increase in annual transportation revenues to the region.

Under Tom's leadership, PAG was awarded: the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organization's Outstanding Achievement Award in 1999, Raytheon Missile Systems Corporate Environmental Innovations Award for 2000, Arizona Transit Association's Award of Excellence in Excellence in 2000, the U.S. Census Monitoring Board's Census Heroes recognition from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for innovative public involvement and from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a Top 10 Clean Cities Program.

Tom also was a recognized leader outside the PAG region as well, serving on the Board of Directors and Transportation Policy Committee of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO). He served on the Arizona Governor's Highway Safety Commission, the Leadership Council for Statewide Economic Development, the Growing Smarter Commission and the Arizona Department of Transportation Resource Allocation Advisory Committee. After his retirement from PAG, Tom served as director of policy for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

For three decades, Tom built and nurtured the PAG organization and its employees. He was a tireless champion for the PAG jurisdictions and stakeholders. He reached countless people in that capacity, many of whom will never forget his enormous enthusiasm, easy-going optimism, soft-spoken honesty, realistic intellect, droll humor and boundless passion for the Tucson community and its people. Largely because of Tom's vision, PAG over the last year has moved forward to secure its role as a regional transportation authority aimed at creating truly regional solutions to transportation problems.

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