Annual Meeting of the Alaska Mobility Coalition  

February 1, 2019
1:15 – 4:45 p.m.
Frontier Building + Zoom

Meeting Objectives

  • Welcome new board members!
  • Coalesce around a Vision and our Mission + Goals.
  • Lay the groundwork for developing an annual work plan.

Summary of Discussion

Ten people attended the meeting held in Anchorage, Alaska and through teleconference + on-line tools, on February 1. The meeting was convened by the President of the Alaska Mobility Coalition, Patrick Reinhart, and facilitated by Tanya Iden of Agnew::Beck Consulting. The following individuals were present.

Name Title/Organization Location
Patrick Reinhart President of AMC Board. Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education In person
John Kern AMC Executive Director In person
David Levy Former ED. Board Member. In person
Michelle Felix AMC Treasurer. Fairbanks/MACS Transit Director In person
LaMarr Anderson AMC Secretary. Transportation Advocate in Mat-Su Borough In person
Paris Butler New Board Member. AnchorRIDES, Municipality of Anchorage In person
Millie Ryan AMC Vice-President. REACH Incorporated Phone + on-line
Jennifer Beckman Board Member. CARTS, Central Area Rural Transit System Phone + on-line
Sidney Williams Board Member. Southeast Senior Services Phone + on-line
Jim Beck Mat-su Health Foundation Phone + on-line
Margaret Evans Board Member. Absent
Gerry Hope Board Member. Sitka Tribe of Alaska Absent

Welcome + Introductions

Patrick Reinhard welcomed everyone and thanked attendees for their participation. Two small business matters were dealt with. Specifically,

  • The terms of three board members were extended:

Michelle Felix, Jim Beck and David Levy will serve terms ending in October of 2020.

  • Paris Butler was formally installed on the Board as a new member.

Tanya Iden walked the group through the agenda and meeting purpose and asked the group to introduce themselves and describe what motivates them to serve the Alaska Mobility Coalition as a board member. The following was mentioned:

  • History working in transit and care deeply that transit remain a viable option in Alaska’s communities.
  • Feel strongly about the mission and the vision of AMC.
  • Have an interest in advocating for transit.
  • I want to see AMC continue to succeed in promoting transit and mobility.
  • I want the needs of Seniors represented.
  • Motivated because I think the state needs to play a bigger part in funding transportation for all.
  • Coalitions speak with a bigger voice.
  • Access to transportation is so important! Need is even stronger than it was previously.
  • Transportation is a big barrier to achieving good health.

Context – Setting the Stage

Tanya ran through presentation slides providing a snapshot of mobility in AK. The slides generated the following discussion:

Alaska has unique challenges.

  • We figured out a long time ago that mobility in Alaska is a lot different that what the national folks think. Ranges from grabbing a bus on a fixed route or getting van service in a small community. AMC is unique in that we are a coalition of human service provider and transportation providers. This gives us strength.
  • How do we move people? We have such a unique challenge in Alaska. This is also a challenge for identifying who our constituency is. We must run in multiple circles – human service organizations. transportation advocates, human service providers, transportation providers.

Do Transportation Network Companies (TNC) Uber/Lyft provide a new opportunity?

  • The impact of TNCs and how people move around the state is great. Impacting cabs and public transit.
  • If public money goes to these TNCs they need to make sure they serve everyone – ADA compliance.
  • How do you get them to be accessible and do it responsibly for the needs out there?
  • Can we get people with accessible vehicles to drive for Uber? (micro-enterprise program).
  • Cabs brought their demise on themselves.
  • Taxi commission sets aside permits for special vehicles.
  • Role of AMC can be to encourage broadening of the rules for transit providers.
  • We could convince airports to award contracts to only one vendor for accessible cabs. Exclusive contracts could be an incentive.

AMC Accomplishments and Impact

  • We have had an impact on getting more money for the State. We can seize opportunities.
  • We’ve been in a continuing resolution for budgeting for 6 years at the Federal level. No transportation act to respond to or impact change. People going virtual to save costs. It could be another 6 years before we see a budget on the national level. And now we don’t even put state funds into our budgets. Only talk about cutting.
  • We have friends in good places. Murkowski + Young have been very influential. We’ve seen tough economic times before. We should work on developing relationships in Juneau, with DOT, etc. Bring people from legislator’s districts to talk to them about why transportation is important.

Vision, Mission, Goals Conversation

The board had a lengthy conversation about the role that AMC can play going forward. There were many specific ideas and questions raised. It was challenging for the group to define a clear future Vision. The following conversation points were discussed:

  • What is it that AMC can do? Whether the AMC can materially make a difference – I’m not sure. It seems to me that AMC’s focus is to bring in funding – the purpose and value is to ensure that the funding can get to the local level. The biggest need isn’t so much flow of information and ideas – it’s the funding.
  • We’re missing the forum part of AMC. The exchange of ideas, the linkages, we don’t come together for the annual meeting. Statewide transit conference no longer exists.
  • AMC could play a role in facilitating and convening conversations to help people be more creative and save money. Be more actionable. What can we work towards now?
  • Is AMC relevant in a state of local coalitions doing the work?
  • What is our role? We used to grant money.
  • We can collaborate and build linkages. Some sort of state conference would be a great way to come together. Vendors will pay for conferences.
  • Coming together and linking, idea flow. Advocacy.
  • When we first started AMC– we used to connect people. I think AMC is still a place that people go.
  • Is there a role to play around training? Driver training, human service assistance, grant application process, information flow about new federal programs. Transit managers are meeting their training needs independently. But who is getting missed are the contract operators and smaller operators. We have a website. There’s no reason why we couldn’t do a virtual training on the AMC website about para-transit eligibility. Members could pay a minimal fee. If everyone is getting their training needs met? What can we do for the small organizations. The ones that don’t know how to write the grant to get the DOT funds.
  • Could we become more like a Resource Center? Pay a fee each year to get access to resources that only we provide.

It was suggested to explore how AMC is unique to define the role the organization can play going forward.

What’s special about AMC?

  • Advocacy
  • Provide Resources
  • Super Small, we don’t need a lot of money to do a lot of things.

Possible Vision Statements

  1. Our vision is an Alaska where all people can get where they need to go, when they need to go, safely, affordably, and on time. (How do we achieve this vision? We defend and work to increase funding for transit and human service transportation options.)
    • Transportation options
    • Ride shares
    • Transit
    • Sidewalks
    • Trails
    • Safe routes to schools
  2. We are the voice for public transportation and human services transportation statewide.

Work Plan

As the board was talking about ideas and next steps, facilitator Tanya drafted the following work plan steps. The board could consider this and update this as needed.

  1. Continue to advocate, defend + increase funding.
    1. Get ready for the Dunleavy Budget – roll out on Feb 13?
    2. Advocacy committee? Develop strategy in advance of budget roll-out.
    3. Best time to talk to legislators is when they are not in session – we’re already behind.
    4. Meet your legislator – board members host?
    5. 2 cents for Transit, trust fund concept.
  2. Determine how best to help smaller members, communities.
    1. Outreach to smaller community members
  3. Convene people virtually, work towards a conference.
  4. Connect people to training opportunities.
    1. Develop a training subcommittee to explore what we can do virtually – have a couple of phone calls, survey members
  5. Grow membership – improve membership benefit, broaden who we think about as members ($300/$600 organizations, $30 for individuals) Join the advocacy movement!
    1. Forge new alliances. (environmental movement)
    2. Distribute list to Board and assign board members to follow-up with others
    3. Tribal transit agencies
    4. Activate board to reach out and link with membership.
  6. Survey membership (and others) about what they need/want
  7. Find new revenue sources.
    1. Identify new grant sources (environmental angle, active transit, vision zero, moving toward zero, health related organization – link to obesity, health infrastructure.)
    2. Join forces with others to go after grants