Officials to discuss AMCAT merger at Tuesday meeting

Published 10:21 am Monday, August 19, 2013

The Austin City Council and Mower County Board of Commissioners will discuss turning their joint public transportation system over to nonprofit Cedar Valley Services. The groups will discuss the move at a 3:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority office, 308 Second Ave. NE.

The two groups will likely not submit a grant to the state Department of Transportation next year for AMCAT, the public busing authority in Mower County.

Mower County approached the city in 2004 to partner to provide public transportation to residents.

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That way, Cedar Valley Services, which also runs Albert Lea Transit throughout Freeborn County, could take over. AMCAT is primarily funded through the state, though rider fees account for about 15 percent of its funding.

MnDOT officials have pushed Mower, Steele and Freeborn counties to merge public transportation services earlier this year as a way to save money. Though Austin and Mower officials were working on a plan to create a tri-county transportation authority, Steele County opted to turn its services over to Cedar Valley Services, according to City Finance Director Tom Dankert.

“Cedar Valley Services has a proven track record in all of these communities and that gives us the confidence that transportation for our communities will not change,” Dankert said in an email last week.

The AMCAT board of directors will meet following the joint meeting to discuss dissolving itself.