The transferring Isanti County’s transit services, which is currently being performed by Heartland Express, to an outside organization, is one step closer to taking place after the boards of commissioners for Isanti and Chisago counties adopted a resolution to transfer its assets to Arrowhead Transit.
The process of dissolving Isanti-Chisago Heartland Express began when both Isanti and Chisago counties passed resolutions in August, 2020 to dissolve a 2020-2021 operating grant with the Minnesota Public Transit Participation Program.
The next step in the process will be for Isanti-Chisago Joint Transit Board to adopt a resolution setting the date of Feb. 28, 2021, terminating all operations under the grant agreement. That resolution will dissolve Heartland Express, according to Isanti County Administrator Julia Lines. The date for that meeting is currently unknown, but will take place before Feb. 28.
The resolution in August prompted the state to solicit bids for operation of public transportation services for the remainder of 2021, and the state selected Arrowhead Transit, according to Lines.
The resolution adopted Jan. 5 ensures a smooth transition for Arrowhead Transit’s ability to provide transit services in Isanti and Chisago counties beginning March 1, 2021.
Lines noted that assets of Heartland Express are not county-owned, but were obtained through the years with federal money granted through the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which is why those assets will be transferred to Arrowhead Transit under the operating grant to provide public transportation.
Arrowhead Transit will continue to provide the same services as Heartland Express, and routes and regularly scheduled rides will continue as they were with Heartland Express, according to Lines.
Promotional materials and advertising will begin soon so local people know who to call when they need a ride.
Lines explained that current Heartland Express drivers who are interested will be interviewed by Arrowhead Transit.