Budget Issues are Causing Small Rule Transit Districts to Close, Larger Systems Could be Next

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Public buses are staying parked in central Illinois, after they are owed money by the state of Illinois.

The transit systems still operating say operations could soon stop.

Smaller rule transit systems, like the one in Jacksonville, have already began closing do to the budget issue.  Although the issue hasn't affected Decatur or Champaign-Urbana yet, it could soon.

Many people rely on public transportation to get them around.

"We take a lot of people to work, and we take many people to medical appointments,” explained Karl Gnadt the Managing Director for Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit.

Due to the lack of a state budget, several small public transit systems have stopped running.

"The state owes the Champaign-Urbana mass transit district 17 million dollars but they owe down state transit close to 153 million dollars," stated Gnadt.

The money the state owes these transit district pays for day to day operations, as well as payroll for employees.

In Decatur and Champaign, the effects from the budget issues haven't been felt yet.

"We are not being affected at this time because the city will utilize the inter-fund to pay for the cost of transit, until we actually receive our first quarter payment requests, " Said John Williams Mass Transit Administrator for Decatur.

"We have a more diverse revenue package and that will allow us to last longer than other systems that money it looks like it will get us through to the end of March,” Gnadt added.

However, the budget issues could affect both transit districts in the future, as well as many people’s jobs.

"If we have not received a payment somewhere by December or the first of the year then we will probably begin to see some effects,” stated Williams

"It would directly affect 350 jobs with the MTD but indirectly it's going to impact a lot more than that," expressed Gnadt.

No word yet on when the state is expected to pay the transit districts what they are owed.

The Champaign-Urbana mass transit district says they won’t have to start making any changes until August of next year. At this time, they are considering taking legal action against the state for not paying them.

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