East Central Minnesota Regional Transportation Coordinating Council

The East Central Minnesota RTCC includes the counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine.map of counties

See the ECRDC website for more information.

Contact: Karen Onan
East Cental Regional Development Commission
100 South Park Street, Mora, MN 55051

Mission statement

To coordinate the provision of multimodal transportation services to assure that transportation is convenient and affordable and will benefit those residents facing transportation barriers throughout the East Central Minnesota Region 7E.

Organizational Structure

Overarching Commitment:

The East Central Regional Development Commission (ECRDC) will rely on the technical and real-life experiences of the East Central Regional Transportation Coordinating Countil (ECRTCC) Advisory Board members who will be those who study the issues, realize the encumbrances, understand through involvement and are the expert representatives for transportation needs in the region.


In order to formalize an organizational structure for the East Central Regional Transportation Coordinating Council (ECRTCC), we considered the fact that we currently have a strong and paralleling structure in place that could become the ECRTCC. It was decided that the East Central Regional Development Commission (ECRDC) would become the ECRTCC. Reading further will explain what the ECRDC is, which will lead you to our thoughtful conclusion.

The East Central Regional Development Commission (ECRDC) will serve as the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council (RTCC) for the five counties of Pine, Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs in East Central Minnesota commencing on July 1, 2019. The ECRDC is a public agency organized under the authority of MN Statutes 462.381 to 462.398 - aka the "Regional Development Act". The ECRDC's governing board consists of county commissioners, mayors/councilmembers, township supervisors, school board members, and various public interest representative of all five counties. The governing board meets six times each year and may call additional special meetings when necessary. The ECRDC's mission statement is as follows:

"The mission is to provide leadership and direction through creative problem solving. We do this by initiating projects and programs that lead to creative solutions to regional problems, providing technical assistance and identifying and developing available resources. We serve in a leadership role to bring about positive change."

The Regional Development Act authorizes the ECRDC to levy property taxes for its operations. Also, as an established "special purpose" unit of government, the ECRDC may accept gifts, apply for and use grants or loans of money or other property from the federal government, the State of Minnesota, or any person, local or governmental body for any commission purpose and may enter into agreements. The ECRDC may also appoint advisory committees to assist in the review of plans, programs, and other matters. The ECRDC has in place the fiscal, administrative, and technical infrastructure along with the necessary building/facilities to take on regional level programming and has done it successfully for over 45 years. Examples have included the federal Economic Development District funded by U.S. Economic Development Administration; the Transportation Planning Program funded by the MN Department of Transportation; the East Central Area Agency on Aging funded by the MN Board on Aging; and the East Central Arts Council funded by the MN State Arts Board. All programs of the ECRDC rely on the use of advisory committees comprised of subject matter professionals to make recommendations on funding decisions and other matters of policy.

Similarly, in its role as the RTCC, the ECRDC will rely on the use of an appointed advisory board consisting of professionals from county human service agencies, the Area Agency on Aging, workforce development groups, transportation providers, and others. Additionally, the advisory board will include a representative from the ECRDC Board acting as a liaison to ensure good communication through the decision-making process.


Final Bylaws (PDF)

Advisory Board Composition

  • Area Agency on Aging
  • Workforce Development
  • Transportation Providers
  • Human Service Agencies
  • Community Action & Habilitation Advocates
  • Veteran Service Organizations
  • Continuum of Care
  • Health Care Systems
  • Centers for Independent Living
  • Public/Private Funders of Transp. Svcs.
  • County Commissioners
  • City Administration
  • Political Involvement
  • Home Health Aids
  • Tribal Involvement

2020-2021 Objectives

Transportation Management Coordination Center

The 2020/2021 efforts of the ECRTCC are to create a TMCC to serve our region's riders. Through data collection, collaboration, and continuous communication, the ECTMCC will provide a wealth of information to the public. We aim to simplify the transportation process for riders and have confidence that our data will be built seamlessly into a statewide mobility system that will move people about our state safely and efficiently.

Our TMCC subcommittee is comprised of:

  • Erica Bliss – Kanabec County Veterans Service Director    
  • Mike Moilanen – Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Representative, Director of Planning and Project Management    
  • Brandy Herbst – President & Owner of B's Home Care    
  • Rebecca Perotti – Central MN Jobs & Training Director    
  • Jen Peterson – Welia Health Transportation Supervisor    
  • Denise Johnson – Assistant Director PHASE/Industries Human Service Providers    
  • Genny Reynolds – Mille Lacs County Commissioner, ECRDC Board Member    
  • Bob Bollenbeck – ECRDC Board Member    
  • Ben Byker – CMCOA, Community Development    
  • Helen Pieper – Timber Trails Public Transit Manager/Director    
  • Amy Christenson – Tri-CAP – Transit Director    
  • Paul Smith – Chisago/Isanti Heartland Express Transit Director    
  • Brandon Nurmi – Arrowhead Public Transit Director

Volunteer Driver Program Development, Coordination, and Training:

The ECRTCC will build upon the region's volunteer driver programs that are currently functional and assist those that are developing; to promote public recognition for these programs enabling those who need them to utilize them with ease, abundantly, affordably, in order to fill our rural region's transportation gaps.

Our Volunteer Driver Program Development, Coordination & Training subcommittee is comprised of:    

  • Penny Messer – Health and Human Services Director, Isanti County    
  • Monique Mendyke – RSVP Regional Director         
  • Brandon Nurmi – Arrowhead Transit Manager   
  • Brandy Herbst – President & Owner of B's Home Care    
  • Nicki Klanderud – Allina Health Services, Community Services    
  • Ben Byker – CMCOA, Community Development    
  • Helen Pieper – Timber Trails Public Transit Manager/Director    
  • Amy Christenson – Tri-CAP - Director    
  • Lori Gudim – Program Manager, Our Home Program – VOA    
  • Kathy Reid – Business and Education Solutions, Pine Technical and Community College

After working on the tasks throughout the year, it was decided by the ECRTCC Advisory Board that we combine the Volunteer Driver and Centralized Training tasks as the two, work hand in hand. For the most part, training is mostly focused on volunteer drivers and riders.

Policy Action:

The ECRTCC is and will continue to be strongly engaged in transportation improvement efforts that are dependent on legislation and negotiations with regulators.

Our Policy Action subcommittee is comprised of:

  • Tim Schmutzer – Executive Director of PHASE (Pine Habilitation and supported Employment, Inc.)/Industries,               Human Service Agency. Tim is also the elected Chairman of the ECRTCC.    
  • Marcia Westover – Community Development Director, Cambridge    
  • Carri Levitski – Community Planner, Cambridge    
  • Jack Friebe – 8th District Representative Pete Stauber's Field Representative    
  • Jeannette Kester – School Board Member, Teacher, Coordinator – East Central Region. ECRDC Liaison to ECRTCC.   
  • Robert Benes – Executive Director of Lakes and Pines Community Action Council

The ECRTCC Policy Action task has been the one that has gained much ground over the past year. Our subcommittee is very committed and there are many other organizations that are keen on the movement of active policy changes – especially in the light of Volunteer Drivers.

Transportation Exploration

Explore and monitor alternate modes and uses of transportation that may be utilized in our region including: reverse transit, automated vehicles and personal protective strategies for riders and drivers.

The direction for the 2020/2021 grant year has been altered to include many other forms of transportation that we know that our RTCC will be able to progress forward with, rather than only tasks that rely on future technology, great funding and technology to develop positive outcomes.

Our Transportation Exploration subcommittee is comprised of:

  • Kevin Stenson – Mayor of Lindstrom, ECRDC Liaison to the ECRTCC
  • Beth VanderPlaats – Mille Lacs County Veterans and Community Services, Financial Assistance Supervisor
  • Mike Moilanen – Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Representative, Director of Planning and Project Management
  • Brandy Herbst – President & Owner of B's Home Care