Lack Of State Funding Putting SCT In Unsustainable Situation
The state makes operating assistance payments to downstate public transportation systems on a quarterly basis through the Downstate Public Transportation Fund, which is funded through transfers from the General Revenue Fund.
Per state statute (30 ILCS 740), Illinois provides 65% reimbursement of operating expenses for South Central Transit and other downstate Illinois public transportation systems. Per state statute, Illinois is legally bound to provide this funding as a continuing appropriation whether the legislature appropriates sufficient funds or not.
As of 10/5/2016, the Downstate Public Transportation Fund had a balance of $47,000, therefore, the state has not made a General Revenue Fund transfer to the Downstate Public Transportation Fund since June 2016 and the Comptroller’s office is not sure if a transfer will be made before December.
South Central Transit and other downstate public transportation systems have not received any state operating assistance payments in FY2017, which started July 1, 2016.
South Central Transit is owed about 2.5 million dollars in state operating and capitol payments, which constitutes a third of its annual operating budget.
In the absence of any state payments, South Central Transit is borrowing money from a line of credit, which will sustain most all operations until December 1.
SCT management is cutting cost in every conceivable area to avoid cutting as many services as possible to people who desperately rely on SCT services each and every day. Effective November 1, SCT will be making changes to the Pirates shuttles to reduce expense. Please refer to our website at www.southcentraltransit.org for detailed changes.
If the state does not make any operating assistance payments before December 1, South Central Transit will be forced to start suspending other routes and services. There are other downstate systems that have already begun to suspend services or have already shut down.
South Central Transit provides an average of 2,000 rides per day to citizens who use the bus to get to work, school, healthcare, and shopping. A suspension of service will deny many citizens their independence and prevent them from keeping jobs, obtaining education, staying healthy, and even being able to buy groceries and other basic necessities.
It is imperative that the State of Illinois follow the law and make FY2017 operating assistance payments to downstate public transportation systems. State legislators, the Governor, and the Comptroller must be contacted. They must be urged to immediately transfer funds to the Downstate Public Transportation Fund and ensure that downstate public transportation systems receive their legally-required operating assistance payments before even more transit services are suspended.
SCT is asking that you contact everyone from the Governor to your local Representatives in support of public transportation.
Governor Bruce Rauner, 312-814-2121; Speaker Mike Madigan, 217-782-5350; Comptroller Leslie Munger, 217-782-6000; Senator Kyle McCarter, 618-283-3000; Senator Gary Forby, 618-439-2504; Senator David Luechtefeld, 618-243-9014; Representative John Cavaletto, 618-548-9080; Representative Charles Meier, 618-651-0405.