More leadership changes are coming to Bloomington-Normal’s public transit agency.
Connect Transit has announced General Manager Isaac Thorne is resigning to pursue another opportunity in the transit industry. His last day with Connect Transit will be Aug. 21.
“There are still plans to be made and work to be done, but I am leaving it in good hands,” Thorne said in a statement. “I have the utmost respect and confidence in the current leadership team and employees to continue providing outstanding public transportation.”
Thorne’s departure comes following several recent changes to Connect Transit’s governing board. Ryan Whitehouse took over as chairman July 1, beginning his third term. The city of Bloomington also added Deborah Presley to the board. She was a member of Connect Transit’s working group that examined ways to improve service. The Town of Normal recently approved Tim McCue, an advocate for those with disabilities, to fill a long-vacant seat on the transit board.
Whitehouse praised Thorne for helping to grow the system’s ridership to record levels, improving its bus stops and securing state and federal funding for electric buses and solar and electrical charging infrastructure.
“A lot of projects were started under Isaac and it was his leadership that got staff and the community and the Board of Trustees to understand all that stuff and secure some of the funding,” Whitehouse said.
The change also comes as Connect Transit continues efforts to secure funding and a site location for a transportation center in downtown Bloomington.
Whitehouse said he doesn’t think Thorne’s departure will stall those efforts that have been years in the making.
“We will continue to march forward with the downtown transfer station and hopefully we don’t see any hiccups with this and I don’t foresee anything like that,” Whitehouse said. “I think we are stable enough that we can continue to more forward on this project.”
Farnsworth Group is currently exploring the feasibility of eight locations for the transfer center and will recommend three choices for the Connect Transit board to consider next month.
Whitehouse hopes the board will have a site secured by the end of the year.
Connect Transit has secured $11 million in public funding for the project. Whitehouse said the agency may need another $3 million to $5 million, depending on the site.
Thorne has worked for Connect Transit since 2007, the last three years as general manager.
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