More Grammer/Connect Transit

By:  Diane Benjamin

The below is what Connect Transit reported for February:  PDF page 10

ct totals

ct totls

What is the point of a transit program that budgets a loss of almost $12,000,000 a year?  Insanity maybe?

Bloomington is giving Connect $610,000 a year for operating expenses.

Normal is giving them $300,000 for the same.

Both also contribute to the capital funding, note Connect still hasn’t repaid the money they borrowed for operating expenses:

capital CT

cptial cash

See previous story:

Sarah Grammer wasn’t done commenting on her Facebook page, this is from today:  (the below was copied)

I find it interesting that Mayor Koos used a small portion of a statement I made in order to accuse me of “misleading statements.” Here is the sentence in full: “Remember that 1% additional sales tax you passed three years ago “in part to help better fund transit”? It’s a regressive tax; all the transit riders are paying it on everything they buy. Maybe you would like to consider increasing the share of the proceeds that go to Connect Transit instead of leaving them with the same flat dollar amount three years running?”

Two weeks ago, I sat in a packed meeting at Life CIL where paratransit riders tried to appeal to Connect Transit Admin to hold off on fare and fee increases that could devastate their lives. Connect Admin insisted this devastation had to happen because they couldn’t get the level of local funding they need. Alderwoman Karen Schmidt said that the Town and City had been giving them a quarter of the penny sales tax since it was raised three years ago. I attended the council meetings where those decisions were made and did not recall that being the agreement.

At the end of the meeting, in the presence of several witnesses, I asked General Manager Isaac Thorne if the statement about Connect receiving a quarter of the one percent sales tax was true. He stated that it was not; it was, as I remembered, a flat dollar amount, and he added that the amount Connect Transit receives from the sales tax has not increased over the past three years.

When we say, “Please, stop. This is hurting people. Let’s look at other options,” we are told these were difficult decisions that just had to be made. But looking at the numbers, one is left to wonder if this is really about money at all or simply about power.

I attach here copies of an email exchange I had with Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne about how the proposed changes would help his budget. All of the original proposed changes were meant to result in, at most, a $257,000 budget improvement, such a tiny portion of Connect Transit’s budget for such a large amount of devastation to riders who lose access to the system.

I also attach two screen captures from Connect Transit’s most recent audit, showing the financial summary and highlights. Help me understand why five of the board members saw a need to approve changes that would extract more money from vulnerable members of our community. Was it simply because these riders have no transportation alternative and therefore can be forced to pay more?

Mike McCurdy, Julie Hile, Judy Buchanan, Monica Bullington, Ryan Whitehouse, can you help us understand the urgency to pass these fare and fee increases and eliminate the Olive route at this time?

When this discussion started last month, Sarah evidently contacted the members of both Councils:


Earlier she contacted the General Manger of Connect:


She received this response two days later:


Anybody else see the obvious?

Connect Transit is a bottomless pit for taxpayer dollars.  Yes, it could be run better.  Nobody is listening, instead we get to observe the in-fighting!

Be prepared:


5 thoughts on “More Grammer/Connect Transit

  1. This is fun to watch! Koos can’t pay the Connect Transit bill because he’s running up the credit card bill for the People’s Republic of Uptown. He’s in a tough spot and a no-win situation. He can continue to attack Sarah and appear insensitive to Connect Transit, its users, and the non-profit/social services community OR fold and throw more taxpayer money into the bottomless pit which would likely trigger a budget imbalance/issue resulting in a tax increase. Think about it, if Normal had the money, Koos would have just thrown it at them before this ever became an issue. Koos doesn’t cut government, so my hunch is that he feels he would have to raise taxes or fees to make it work. After this week’s election, it probably isn’t the best political timing to raise taxes. He might as well throw a parade for Stan while he’s at it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How about this? Give the choice: remove Austin Grammer’s position and give half that money to Connect Transit. The other can go to improving streets. What would Sarah Grammer say about that deal? Is that when she would stop caring about the Olive line? Or is she truly all in to help stem these fare increases?

    Unfortunately nobody is attacking the Connect Transit problem in a practical manner, both the expense and revenue problems.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting that even Sarah gets that this is about power. Connect Transit could easily cut routes on the East side/wealthier areas but that would t get them bigger budgets. Cutting service to poor and vulnerable areas gets them the publicity/public outcry they need to get a bigger budget.


  4. Explain to me what we are arguing about when Connect Transit is losing close to a million dollars a month. The big issue is why? Clean that mess up and cut the use of empty buses etc.


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