I am Millie Ryan, President of the Alaska Mobility Coalition (AMC), a nonprofit, statewide coalition of individuals and organizations formed to promote coordinated transportation options for residents and visitors of Alaska.
This past year in 2022, our vigorous advocacy agenda included efforts to balance the distribution formula of federal Covid relief funding for rural transit providers and increased funding for Human Services transportation. Our 12 rural transportation providers around the State received over $20 Million from the first round of federal relief funds. The Alaska Marine Highway received $45 of the $55 million during the second round, and the remaining $10 million is going to our rural transit providers. In support of human services transportation, the State agreed to place $1 million in general funds to match $300 thousand in Alaska Mental Health Trust funding. Many of you receive grants from this pot of funds and put them to good use!
You can count on AMC to advocate for this level of funding in 2023 and look for other opportunities for federal, State, and local support of community transportation services. First, we want to get “transit” into state law. It is not now; it often seems we fall way down the list of state priorities. We need to improve the transportation services for our citizens who do not drive or own their vehicles. We want Alaska to invest in community transportation, and we need a place in a statute that says it needs to address this critical issue.
Second, we want to explore ways to support and incentivize volunteer driver programs, especially when less public or non-profit-supported transportation services are available. There are many examples of such programs from around the country, and AMC wants to see if they are a good fit for some Alaskan communities.
Third, over six years have passed since we hosted a community transportation conference where providers gather to receive professional training and share each other’s experiences. We have heard from many members about the importance of such gatherings. AMC will work to re-establish and then help coordinate this event.
AMC will hold our next annual meeting and share viewpoints in December. We are looking for a few new board members to fill vacant seats, so if you are interested, let us know!
Please help us advocate for the transportation needs of Alaskans by becoming a member! Contact Lisa Reinhart, our Coordinator, at (907) 343-9093 or email at email@example.com.
Millie Ryan, Board President