By: Diane Benjamin
Connect Transit appeared at both City Council meetings last night. Isaac Thorne, General Manager, didn’t hang around the Bloomington meeting for long. He rushed off needlessly to Normal since he wasn’t on the agenda until after public comment and regular business. He could have answered more questions from the Bloomington Council.
The presentation in Normal was very long. Isaac Thorne was joined by Julie Hile (a Normal representative on the Board) and Martin Glaze, the interim Chief Financial Officer
- Connect Transit has an agenda that doesn’t “sync” with fiscal responsibility and common sense.
- The majority of stops are not ADA compliant even though compliance has been the law for decades. Connect did report riders can call and request a pick-up at an intersection if they are unable to navigate the assigned stop.
- Obviously if the disabled were being heard and served by Connect Transit they wouldn’t be at every Council meeting in both towns stating their grievances.
- Connect analyzes data to death to support their case, real facts like the empty buses everyone sees are immaterial.
- Isaac Thorne would love for Connect to be their own taxing body. If that happens it will be open season on taxpayers, neither City will reduce the taxes they charge you now. They will simply divert the current contributions to other things.
- Thorne claimed the highest priority is serving the transit dependent. 40 foot buses mean some areas can not be served because they can’t be maneuvered. Obviously his highest priority can’t be met with huge buses and he hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care.
- Increasing the cost to transit dependent low income riders is a knock-out blow to them with minimal benefit to Connect Transit.
- Connect has budgeted a small amount per year to make stops ADA compliant. They claim the process is time consuming and very difficult to fix more stops than budgeted.
- The majority of Trustees and Aldermen believe the information Connect puts forth, those who don’t are cut off. Transparency spending tax dollars is essential, that means asking questions.
- Both towns will be asked to pay more, federal funding ends in 2024. Neither town will demand smaller buses with the current Councils.
- Connect is promoting a new “value card”. Citizens claim it will cost them more.
- The fix for eliminating the Olive Route still means less service to north Normal.
To understand the disconnect you would have to watch public comment at Bloomington’s meeting (posting later) and then the Connect Transit presentation and discussion in Normal.
Chris Koos cut off both Karyn Smith and Stan Nord when they were asking questions. Representatives looking out of citizens can’t be tolerated in Koos world. Koos did not want to discuss operations, only policy. Koos’s version of “policy” doesn’t include real questions. When Koos gets around to appointing a person to fill the long time vacancy on the Connect Transit Board it will be a person who doesn’t ask questions.
Chris Koos claimed only 1 person has asked to serve on the Connect Transit Board but is unavailable currently. He forgot about Marc Tiritilli since his application isn’t the “right fit”. Normal thinks appointments are a personnel matter, so they vote to approve people and then tell the public who was appointed. Since these people work for taxpayers, unpaid, the taxpayers deserve to know before Koos slots in his favorites. Government For and By the People is dead until Koos is replaced by someone who knows what that means.
From Normal’s meeting:
Karyn Smith gets cut off at 2:13:40
Stan Nord gets cut off at 2:47:20
Chemberly Cummings proves at 2:13:50 why she should not be re-elected in 2021. She represents Koos, not citizens.
The Connect Transit presentation starts at 1:00:40. Just hit play.