Citizens Sound Off On Possible Connect Transit Shutdown | WGLT

Citizens Sound Off On Possible Connect Transit Shutdown

Oct 27, 2016

Some members of the community expressed concern about the future of Connect Transit services due to the lack of state funding for public transportation. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson told those gathered for a meeting Thursday there have been no transfers from the state's general revenue fund into the transportation fund since June. 

Johnson said the system can still provide 25 percent of their services without state funding. Elizabeth Griuber said she would like to see those services go toward the handicapped or residents with low income. 

"Have people schedule a small bus. They do it in other towns," said Griuber. "If I had a doctor's appointment, I'd call up the handicap and they would pick me up. There's services we can provide for the most needy and I say the rest of the people are going to have to walk or ride a bike."

Griuber said Connect Transit should switch to smaller vehicles because she sees many empty buses in the area.

Glen Ludwig of Bloomington said he has never used the buses, but he believes the company is an example of how government provided service can fail. Ludwig said Connect Transit's business model is flawed because it relies on huge subsidies from the state of Illinois that already sits in debt.

"Connect Transit's leadership needs to look at their business model and determine how they can adjust to live more within the means of their budget," said Ludwig. "Then, the community needs to step up and support those changes that must be made."

The board, State Representative Dan Brady and representatives from other area state elected officials also heard customers who rely on Connect Transit for all their transportation and who asked that the system receive past due state funds. Connect is owed $5 million in state funds.

Johnson said most transportation services, from airport runways to roads and passenger rail receive government subsidies. Connect Transit receives 65 percent of its operating budget from the funds. He said Connect Transit provides 2.6 million trips per year, but those services could end in January if the funds aren't transferred by December.