SPRINGFIELD. – State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, advanced legislation out of the House Mass Transit Committee to address funding shortfalls for downstate transit districts.
“We cannot create jobs or spur economic growth in this region without a strong transportation system for our workers,” said Stuart. “State revenue for downstate transit has already been collected and is earmarked to go specifically towards downstate transit districts, yet transit districts are owed millions of dollars. Shutting down local bus service will only harm workers, students, seniors, the disabled, employers, and many others who depend on public transportation.”
Stuart’s House Bill 2453 requires funds earmarked for downstate transportation to be deposited directly into a dedicated fund rather than passing through the state’s general revenue fund, eliminating the need for an authorized transfer by the state Comptroller. Funding for the Downstate Transportation Fund is generated automatically through the state sales tax. It is collected through the general revenue fund before being transferred into the dedicated fund for transit districts.
“The Downstate Transportation Fund provides funding for transit districts serving 96 counties in the state,” Stuart said. “This is an economic issue. Without reliable and affordable transportation, workers throughout the state will be forced to find alternative employment or be unable to remain in the workforce altogether.”
The measure, as of last week, was still collecting House sponsors and had not yet come up for a vote.