Governor Jane M. Swift last week announced the launch of the commonwealth's new government portal, Mass.gov. The goal of the new portal is to give customers flexible access to government services at their own convenience.

"Mass.gov allows the public to have easy and comprehensive access to a wide array of government services, regardless of where they live," said Swift. "This portal will save citizens valuable time and allow state government to do more with less."

Mass.gov is designed with a focus on the needs and interests of the commonwealth's citizens, businesses, cities and towns, state employees and visitors rather than on the organizational structure of government. This configuration makes the comprehensive site user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Customers can find the information they need by choosing one of six broad categories on the portal and then selecting from progressively more specific topics consisting of related information from multiple agencies that is consolidated into "virtual agencies."

Users may also choose directly from a list of 50 currently available online services that range from locating childcare and educational facilities, to filing personal and business taxes, to purchasing public transportation passes and locating visitors centers.

The launch of Mass.gov is the first step in reaching the commonwealth's vision for e-government. The portal provides links to agencies, state officials and 351 communities from Boston to Norfolk County. The data includes state information from the communities as well as links to the actual community websites.

Mass.gov has been a public/private collaborative effort since its inception in the fall of 2000. The Cellucci-Swift administration began by assembling a 75-member E-Government Task Force, co-chaired by then-Governor Paul Cellucci, then-Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift and Bob Davis, former CEO of Terra Lycos, Inc., and comprised of high-level policy makers in state government and representatives from the private sector, academia and municipal governments. The task force was charged with developing the vision and future direction of e-government in the commonwealth.