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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

St. Paul, MN – March 14, 2024 – Arrowhead Transit, represented by Director Brandon Nurmi and Assistant Director of Administration Colette Hanson, embarked on a day long lobbying effort to the Minnesota State Capitol, advocating for improved transportation access and public transit support in rural Minnesota communities.

The initiative kicked off on March 13th with a rally hosted by the Transportation Alliance. Governor Walz attended the event with his special guest opening remarks, emphasizing the critical importance of transportation infrastructure in rural areas. Among the attendees was the Minnesota Public Transit Association (MPTA), underscoring the collective commitment to addressing transportation challenges statewide.

During the meeting, the legislative agenda took center stage, with particular emphasis on securing essential funding for Greater Minnesota. Notably, the absence of a proposed $10 million bonding allocation for rural transit in Governor Walz’s bonding request highlighted the urgency of the issue. The Arrowhead Transit team advocated for future funding mechanisms that would continue to ease local match requirements for Greater Minnesota Rural Transit Systems which is projected to become a barrier to public transit sustainability and expansion.

Another crucial aspect discussed was the expansion of current statutes to allow the sharing of existing third-party testers in public transit systems for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) licensure. This proposed bill aims to reduce barriers to driver hiring as current wait times for CDL testing exceed 60 days in many areas.

Volunteer driving programs were a vital component of the conversation, underlining the significance of community engagement in addressing transportation gaps. Arrowhead Transit’s Colette Hanson highlighted the impactful role of volunteer drivers in ensuring mobility for individuals who may otherwise be isolated due to limited transit options.

On March 13th, Nurmi and Hanson met with key legislators, including Representative Spencer Igo (07A), Senator Mark Johnson (District 01), and Senator Rob Farnsworth (District 07). These meetings provided an invaluable opportunity to directly engage with policymakers, sharing insights and perspectives on the pressing transportation needs of rural constituents.

L to R: Colette Hanson, Senator Robert Farnsworth, Director Brandon Nurmi

Amidst the advocacy efforts, Nurmi and Hanson took the opportunity to explore the historic halls of the Capitol, gaining a deeper understanding of our states legislative process and the corridors of power that shape Minnesota’s transportation landscape.

Arrowhead Transit remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for equitable transportation access across rural Minnesota. Through collaboration with stakeholders and continued engagement with policymakers, Arrowhead Transit aims to drive meaningful change and ensure that no community is left behind in the journey towards enhanced mobility.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Dominick Olivanti – Marketing and Public Relations
Arrowhead Transit
Phone: 218-735-6815
Email: dominick.olivanti@aeoa.org

Follow us on social media:
X: @ARWHDTransitMN
Facebook: Arrowhead Transit
Instagram: @arrowheadtransit_mn

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About Arrowhead Transit:

Established in 1974, Arrowhead Transit operates as the primary provider of public transportation in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota. As the largest rural public transportation system in the state, we are committed to delivering reliable services to residents across 10 counties in Northeastern Minnesota: Aitkin, Itasca, Koochiching, St. Louis, Lake, Cook, Carlton, Pine, Chisago, and Isanti. With a mission to provide safe, reliable, and accessible transportation options, Arrowhead Transit strives to enhance mobility and improve the quality of life for individuals residing in underserved areas. Through innovative solutions and community partnerships, Arrowhead Transit remains at the forefront of advancing transportation equity and inclusivity.

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