Northwest Regional Transportation Coordination Council
Coalition Recognizes Legislators for Supporting Volunteer Drivers
The Volunteer Driver Coalition recognized 10 Minnesota state legislators on October 14 for their help in passing essential legislation to protect volunteer drivers and eliminate barriers for their continued service.
The Coalition recognized these legislators for their support:
• Senator Jeff Howe, Author
• Senator John Jasinski, Author
• Representative Erin Koegel, Author
• Representative Mary Murphy, Author
• Representative Dave Lislegard, Author
• Representative Zack Stephenson, Commerce Committee Chair
• Senator Gary Dahms, Commerce Committee Chair
• Representative Paul Marquart, Tax Committee Chair
• Senator Carla Nelson, Tax Committee Chair
• Senator Roger Chamberlain, Tax Committee Chair
The Volunteer Driver Coalition formed in Minnesota in 2018 with the goal of eliminating barriers for volunteer drivers. The group, comprised of 85 nonprofit and public organizations, made headway this year with the successful passage of two bills into state law. The first clarifies the role of a volunteer vs. “for-hire” driver, and the second creates a state income tax subtraction for volunteer mileage reimbursement.
Joyce is one of hundreds of volunteer drivers throughout the state providing essential services to thousands of Minnesotans who are unable to drive. Besides delivering meals to older adults and adults with disabilities, volunteers provide door-to-door service to the grocery store, doctor’s office, pharmacy and community events.
One-on-one transportation also provides an emotional lift – eliminating physical barriers to the community and increasing socialization. “Many older adults are able to access public transportation and others qualify for specialized transportation services such as Metro Mobility,” said Katie Boller Gosewisch, Executive Director of the Living at Home Network. “But for more than 77,000 Minnesotans – many of them older adults living in rural communities – these options are not available.”
Without volunteer drivers, the coalition says many Minnesotans would be stranded. The Coalition is now turning its attention to advocacy at the federal level. The current charitable mileage reimbursement rate is set at 14 cents per mile for volunteer drivers while the business rate is 56 cents per mile. Given the essential role that volunteer drivers play in the transportation system, the Coalition believes volunteer mileage should be reimbursed at the business rate to reflect the actual costs of owning and driving a personal vehicle.
For more information on the coalition, see volunteerdrivermn.org.