Bloomington-Normal's transit system is avoiding a planned shutdown at the end of the month.
The State of Illinois Comptroller’s Office has reimbursed Connect Transit for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, allowing bus service to continue in Bloomington-Normal. The payment of $1.885 million covers July 2016 through September 2016 and is part of an almost $17.6 million transfer to the Downstate Public Transportation Fund. The transfer will complete fiscal year 2016 obligations and most first quarter obligations for downstate transit agencies.
“We are grateful that the Illinois Comptroller was able to provide Connect Transit with its first quarter operating assistance payment," said Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson. "Our state legislators took an active interest in this funding problem and we are very appreciative of the efforts as they continue to support us as we deal with this issue."
Johnson said he remains optimistic the state will be able to bring payments to downstate transit systems up to date and keep buses and people moving in Bloomington-Normal.
Bloomington State Senator Bill Brady said he's pleased his office and his colleagues were able to work with the Comptroller and Department of Transportation to have the funding for downstate mass transit released.
"My thanks goes out to the Comptroller's office for their efforts in making sure our mass transit districts keep the buses running for those who rely on public transportation daily," stated Senator Bill Brady.
State funding represents 65% of all operating expenses for the transit system. This first quarter payment is critical to keeping Connect Transit operating in the near-term. The second quarter is still unpaid and the third quarter is quickly approaching.