One central Illinois state representative says he's confident Connect Transit will receive state funding appropriated to the bus system in time to avoid a shutdown of the bus fleet in January.
Republican Dan Brady of Bloomington spoke following a meeting this morning with Heartland Community College President Rob Widmer. Brady says he's puzzled as to why the $5 million appropriation hasn't been sent to Connect Transit.
"We have a six month budget and, in particular, I'd like to know through the comptroller's office, 'where's the money?' because it's my understanding through our stop-gap budget, the money has been appropriated, but why has it not been released? So that's something that, in my role as representative, will try and find an answer to," Brady said.
Regardless of the reason, Brady said he thinks the buses won't have to be parked in January.
"I think we're going to see a resolution to the funding side of it. In other words, to provide the funding that Connect Transit's owed, and we hope that resolution certainly comes sooner rather than later," Brady said.
Other transit districts in Illinois are in a similar situation. Some say they may have to shut down as early as this month.
Widmer says a large portion of Heartland's student population uses Connect Transit buses.
Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson says no transfers from the state's general revenue fund into the transportation fund have been made since June. About 65 percent of the system's budget comes from state funding. Johnson says an end to service and some layoffs will occur if the funds aren't transferred by December.