Kankakee County Transportation Committee elects chairman, vice chairman
Kankakee County Transportation Committee met Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Here are the minutes as provided by Kankakee County:
Kankakee County Transportation Committee
Conference Room, METRO Centre
1137 E. 5000N Road, Bourbonnais, IL
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Members in attendance: Mike Butler, Good Shepherd Manor, Laura Dick, SHOW BUS; Ken Munjoy, River Valley METRO Mass Transit District; Roger Hess, Kankakee County Board; Michael Roof, Veteran’s Assistance Center, Kankakee County; Michelle Allen, Cornerstone Services; Jeannette Tetreault, Thresholds; Jennifer Cappellano, Options CIL, Jennifer Sicks, McLean County RPC.
Others in attendance: Geoff Olson, Kankakee County Planning Department; Jamal Smith, McLean County RPC; Megan Barnhart; Lauren Snow.
Call to Order
Chairman Butler called the meeting to order at 9:31 AM, welcomed everyone and asked that everyone introduce themselves.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Hess made a motion to approve the minutes as presented from May 3, 2016 and August 30, 2016. Mr. Roof seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Election of Officers
Mr. Hess nominated and motioned for Mr. Butler as chairman and Ms. Dick as Vice Chairwoman.
Mr. Roof seconded the motion. Motion carried.
HSTP Coordinator Issues
Ms. Sicks said that there hasn’t been much going on with the state budget and they are waiting to see if any progress will be forthcoming. Chairman Butler said he followed up with comments from the Regional HSTP meeting and checked to see if he had received a contract for the most recent round of CVP vehicle awards and found that he had not yet received a contract. Agency Transportation Needs, Interagency Coordination and Accessibility Issues
Mr. Munjoy said METRO had a plan approved by IDOT to make every bus stop ADA accessible. Unfortunately, that was just before the transit funding issue so no progress has been made. Ms. Tetreault asked if improvements would begin once funding was restored. Mr. Munjoy said hopefully that is what will happen, but it’s been a while since it was approved.
Ms. Dick stated SHOW BUS is continuing to provide service. They have had difficulty in hiring new drivers, particularly for Head Start transportation, because applicants must have background checks performed by the FBI. SHOW BUS is also having difficulty with providing trips for everyone who needs transportation because social service agencies are closing and riders end up having to go to different agencies that are further from their homes.
Ms. Tetreault said they have many clients that are nervous about the possibility of METRO having to shut down because they aren’t receiving funds from the State. Many clients are saying the buses are very full and transit times have increased by an hour in some instances because of the necessary service cuts. They are also concerned about losing state aid.
Ms. Allen said Cornerstone is also waiting for the state budget crisis to be resolved and has been working with METRO to ensure transportation for their clients.
Ms. Cappellano said Options has the same concerns that have already been mentioned and added that the extended transit times can be uncomfortable for those with medical conditions.
Mr. Butler reported that Good Shepherd Manor is fortunate that they have their own vehicles, but they are currently understaffed and are unable to raise wages without the state budget.
Mr. Hess said Kankakee County will have some changes coming with the results of the election.
The County Board will have three new members and there will be a new chairman and vicechairman.
Mr. Roof said they have begun offering a daily stipend to their drivers instead of the $5 voucher they had been offering.
Program Status of Transportation Providers
Ms. Dick said Downstate Operating Assistance Program (DOAP) contracts have been received, but many operators have refused to sign them because they are in conflict with state statutes.
FTA Section 5311 contracts are the same, but because they were sent to so late some transit providers had to close.
The low rider bus is waiting for IDOT to issue a contract. However, there is only three months left until the agreement with the vendor expires. Also, with having to extend trips for riders some trips that would normally take 55 minutes without traffic are getting delayed beyond the 1-hour limit.
Mr. Munjoy said METRO was forced to sue the state comptroller because payments were not being made. Yesterday, some funds were transferred into the downstate transit fund and a voucher was made to make payments current for METRO. The amount left in the fund isn’t enough to pay everyone else who is still waiting to be paid. There is still concern that future quarters won’t be paid on time and that the current lawsuit isn’t over yet.
Mr. Hess asked if there were estimates on how many rides are being lost due to the cuts in service. METRO was forced to cut major holiday and Sunday service in order to continue to office service. Mr. Munjoy said there were usually about 1,000 rides every Sunday and last Thanksgiving there were about 700 rides of which many were ADA trips. He also said the number of rides in certain areas of service are considerably lower than they were last year, which likely indicates a loss of ridership. Ms. Allen asked how much funding was transferred into the transit fund and Mr. Munjoy said it was probably about half of what is needed to make payments to all the agencies waiting. Ms. Sicks asked if METRO has issues a press release. Mr. Munjoy said they would be issuing one shortly. He said the media has been great in covering the problems, even WGN News came out and aired a story a couple weeks ago. On METRO’s website there are regularly updated news articles about the state budget for everyone’s convenience.
Chairman Butler asked Ms. Sicks how Connect Transit is faring. Ms. Sicks said they have had administrative employees leave, but if they do not receive payment from the State be the end of December, they will have to close.
Questions from the Media
Urban & Rural HSTP Combined Meetings
Mr. Olson said it was left of the agenda from the last meeting and there is no update. Tentative Meetings for 2017
Mr. Olson explained the meetings schedule is set up based on the last two years of CVP applications. He also asked the members if moving the meetings to 10:30 AM, making the start time more convenient for McLean County RPC staff, would create any conflicts for anyone.
Everyone said it would work all right. Mr. Roof motioned to approve the meeting dates and start times. Ms. Allen seconded the motion. Motion Carried.
The next CTC meeting will be on January 31, 2016 at 10:30 AM at River Valley METRO.
The next Region 6 HSTP Meeting will be on February 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM at the historic courthouse in Pontiac, IL.
Chairman Butler asked if there was any other business to come before the committee. There was none. Mr. Hess motioned to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Tetreault seconded the motion. Motion Carried. Chairman adjourned the meeting at 10:06 AM.