The Hood River County Transportation District Board announced the appointment of Amy Schlappi to the position of executive director of Columbia Area Transit (CAT) as of late December 2021.
Schlappi will work alongside current executive director, Patty Fink, until Fink’s retirement in July 2022. Prior to this appointment Schlappi served as CAT’s Planning & Development manager since October 2019.
Schlappi’s appointment began late December 2021, and will transition into her role over the next six months taking on full responsibility for the District in July 2022.
During her tenure with CAT, Schlappi has helped shape and expand the transportation system in Hood River County, executing projects like the Gorge Pass, and assisting in the development of an expanded Gorge-wide transportation system in partnership with other Gorge transportation providers.
Schlappi has developed community programs to improve transportation access for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, and Limited-English Proficiency individuals.
With support from the Columbia Gorge Health Council and the City of Hood River, she helped expand the Low-Income Pass program, and created the structured Gorge Transit Connect Program resulting in the distribution of 400 bus passes to low-income individuals in Hood River and Wasco Counties in 2021.
In addition, she expanded the Student Free-Fare Program, collaborating with the school district, schools, and families to educate students on available transit resources to meet transportation needs outside of school provided transportation. These projects helped increase awareness of public transit services in the region and have allowed the district to build partnerships with local organizations.
“Amy is an outstanding choice. She is well respected by staff, understands the day to day operations and has been instrumental in forging the necessary partnership to ensure public transit is a key part of Hood River County’s transportation network,” said Fink.
As Schlappi assumes the directorship, she will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations, executing a new Transit Master Plan, and leading policy development and planning. Additional responsibilities include promoting increased use of sustainable forms of transportation like walking, biking, and transit use in the District’s service area, while working to improve equity in transportation policies, programs, and services.