Northeast Minnesota Regional Transportation Coordinating Council

Page Contents

About RTCC
Northeast Region Transportation Providers
Regional Events and Conferences
Volunteer Driver Agencies
Food Access Resources
More Information

About RTCC

The mission of the Northeast Minnesota RTCC is to improve access, availability, and options for transportation services in northeastern Minnesota through improved communication, coordination, and collaboration.

For additional information about the RTCC, click on the desired topic below.

  1. Identify unmet personal mobility needs and facilitate the development of services responsive to those needs;
  2. Identify and understand all available transportation options in the region;
  3. Increase access to services, education and centers of commerce;
  4. Increase coordination between transportation service providers;
  5. Advocate for high quality transportation services which are safe, efficient, effective, reliable and responsive to consumer needs;
  6. Increase available transportation services within the region; and
  7. Identify, support and expand best practices.

  • Increase efficiencies that may be achieved through more grouping of individuals traveling to the same destination or reduced duplication of services and/or vehicles.
  • Enhanced access to social and health services, education and employment.
  • Improved use of resources: For example, if the same services can be provided with fewer vehicles, then funds spent on insurance and capital is reduced. Other resources that could be shared include staff training, computer software, or call center staff.
  • Coordination and collaboration can result in providing transportation in ways that contribute to livable communities and a vital economy.
Membership (2020-2021)
  • Emily Anderson, Essentia Health
  • Chris Belden (CHAIR), Duluth Transit Authority
  • Laurie Berner, Arc Northland
  • Brian Bluhm, Community Health Board
  • Marianne Bovee, Age Well Arrowhead
  • Renee Bymark, ElderCircle
  • Kirsten Cruikshank, Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging
  • Marie Domiano, Office of Job Training
  • Jessica Globe, Aitkin County Human Services
  • Lisa Hanson, Lake County Human Services
  • Jill Hatfield, Volunteer Services of Carlton County
  • Karen Herman, Udac
  • Mark Lessard, Koochiching County Veterans Services
  • Brandon Nurmi (VICE-CHAIR), Arrowhead Transit
  • Toni Rothmeier, Pinewood
  • Jennie Rowland, Big Woods Transit-Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
  • Tim Schmutzer, PHASE
  • Rinna Waters, Occupational Development Center – Itasca County
  • Scott Zahorik, Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency

Arrowhead RTCC meets the second Monday of every month. All meetings are currently held via Zoom.
Next meeting is October 12th, 2020

Past meeting notes (Coming soon!)

Title VI Statement

(Coming soon!)

Northeast Minnesota RTCC is one of several RTCCs across Minnesota. To learn more, visit the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA).

Northeast MN Region Transportation Providers

(Coming soon!)

Looking for transit in your area? Check out MnDOT’s Map of Statewide Transit Services.

Regional Events and Conferences

Zeitgeist Bus Bike Walk Month

2020-2021 Volunteer Driver Virtual Forum Series

Volunteer Driver Agencies

To learn about volunteer drivers in Northeast Minnesota, click on the desired topic below.

Message of Value

Volunteer drivers are a key component of human services transportation in Minnesota. They provide a low-cost form of transportation for people that need services provided by these organizations in situations where other forms of transit would be less cost-effective and/or provide a lower level of service.

A wide variety of organizations utilize volunteer drivers. These include counties and other local governments, human service providers, public transit providers, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit organizations. Not surprisingly, given the wide variety of organizations, they also provide a wide variety of trips, ranging from non-emergency medical appointments to trips to work or school, to general errands or other unspecified purposes. While most of the organizations that utilize volunteer drivers are located in small towns or rural areas where dedicated transit services do not exist, many are located in urban areas as well.


Volunteer drivers are needed to overcome transportation barriers for the most vulnerable citizens. Older adults, veterans, those with disabilities and others encounter daily barriers to access of basic needs due to lack of transportation options. The volunteer driver programs in our region provide relief to this problem and needs your support to remain sustainable. Communities across the state have lost volunteer drivers.

Nonprofit and local government transportation providers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteer drivers in recent years due to two major factors:

  1. some auto insurance carriers are increasing their insurance rates on volunteer drivers, treating them more like for hire drivers; and
  2. volunteers must pay income tax on any mileage reimbursement over the low IRS 14 cents a mile rate when the total reimbursement exceeds $600 a year

The legislation proposed addresses the most significant threats to the viability of volunteer driver programs. It clarifies that volunteer drivers are NOT “for-hire” carriers and that their insurance premiums cannot be raised because they are volunteer drivers. The bill also creates a state income tax subtraction to lessen the tax liability of volunteer drivers and limits the liability of nonprofit organizations from claims in excess of $1.5 million related to a volunteer driver. This change in law is crucial to the survival and viability of rural Minnesota communities.

Want to lend your voice to current volunteer driver issues? Additional resources:

Interested in learning more about volunteer drivers in Minnesota? Check out the Volunteer Driver Coalition.

Food Access Resources

According to the Minnesota Food Charter, nearly 1 in 10 households in Minnesota experience food insecurity and experience factors that can lead to food insecurity including low wages, lack of transportation, and difficulty accessing benefits. Additionally, Minnesota has fewer grocery stores per capita than most states, ranking in the bottom third of states nationwide.

The Northeast RTCC supports access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food by providing transportation resource information to area grocery stores and other food resources.

Looking for food resources in Duluth? Check out Ecolibrium3’s Map of Food Resources in Duluth.


More Information

Beverly Sidlo-Tolliver
RTCC Coordinator