Illinois awarded $1.8 million federal grant to improve access to transit in Southern Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced it has been awarded $1.8 million from the Federal Transit Administration to launch a pilot program in Southern Illinois with the goal of improving access to public transportation for people with disabilities, older adults and those with low incomes.


The grant, administered through the federal Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Pilot Program, will support efforts to integrate trip scheduling and fare collection across 20 counties served by Shawnee Mass Transit District, Rides Mass Transit District, South Central Mass Transit and Monroe Randolph Transit District.


“This grant is an important step toward making the transit experience seamless for those who need it most,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “By building upon some of the best rural transit systems in the country, Illinois is poised to create connections in exciting new ways that are more convenient and easier for Southern Illinois residents. We are excited to partner with these providers and get to work.”


Led by IDOT, the pilot program’s initial goal is to create better links among the four transit providers’ schedules and transfer locations to make it easier for riders to travel beyond the limits of their transit districts. The larger mission is to eventually integrate fare collection and improve the coordination of public funding for transit throughout the region, relieving riders of the burden of arranging fares and payments.

“Illinoisans rely on public transit to get to work, run errands, and stay connected to their community. ​ It’s essential that public transit is physically and financially accessible for all riders, including those with disabilities or older adults. ​ Made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this new funding will do just that,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) ​ “I look forward to seeing this federal investment in Southern Illinois improve our transit systems for its riders.”


“Improving transit accessibility is critically important—especially throughout Southern Illinois,” said U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) ​ “I’m proud to see this federal support benefiting 20 counties across Southern Illinois, making it easier for Illinoisans with disabilities and working families to use and navigate mass transit. I’ll keep pushing to ensure our transportation systems are accessible for all, and making sure we’re bringing home the federal support to Illinois to make it possible.”


“Public transit systems aren’t just important in our biggest cities – they’re also a critical way for folks to get from place to place in Downstate Illinois,” said U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-13). “I’m glad to see the State of Illinois launching a pilot program aimed at improving transportation access in Southern Illinois. I look forward to seeing how this $1.8 million investment improves services in our region.”


Made possible by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Pilot Program supports organizations that coordinate public transportation for underserved groups, allowing them to access healthcare, community services, education and jobs by building partnerships among health, transportation and human services providers.


Of the 17 projects receiving awards in the latest funding cycle, the amount received by IDOT is the largest.


“We welcome yet another opportunity to assist the residents of our counties in gaining access to transportation throughout the state of Illinois,” said Mike Pietrowski, executive director of the Shawnee Mass Transit District. “Working together across our jurisdictional boundaries, we can expand services and improve quality of life across an entire region.”