Bloomington: $31.5 Trillion in debt is immaterial

By: Diane Benjamin Bills and Payroll: https://www.bloomingtonil.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/28905/638096498401870000 806 Employees, remember when the City had 650? Maybe shows aren’t booked because you have to pay up first? Your cost for empty buses: Agenda: https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/cityblm/257b0a83-7d4f-11ed-9024-0050569183fa-a809f54d-d2d4-4538-9941-6f673252daac-1674252308.pdf National debt is now $31.5 trillion. That doesn’t include all the unfunded liabilities that can never be paid. Our national security is […]

3 more things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Steve Suess is no longer at Cities 92.9. He’s exploring other opportunities. BIG LOSS to Sunday afternoons, guest host spots, and election coverage. 😲 2) State Farm is selling employees: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230112005620/en/HCLTech-to-Modernize-IT-Operations-for-State-Farm%C2%AE Sources tell me these are 1st and 2nd level support and claims help desk staff. Most are already working remotely. […]

6 Things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Unit 5 is counting on low voter turnout to pass yet another attempt to raise your taxes – that’s after they already raised property taxes. These current School Board members want re-elected: Kelly Pyle Amy Roser Both were appointed in 2018, they are part of the problem. Unions will be running […]

Follow-up to THREE stories

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Follow-up to Chris Koos’ nomination to the Amtrak Board: https://blnnews.com/2022/09/08/koos-finally-got-a-hearing-in-the-senate/ The Senate will run out of time to get Koos on the Amtrak Board. See this story: https://www.railpassengers.org/happening-now/news/blog/amtrak-board-nominees-left-in-limbo/ Excerpt, this happened 12/7/2022: Dickie Durbin has nominated Koos twice and failed both times to put him on the Amtrak Board. I’d either […]

Three things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin Town of Normal cancelled Monday’s meeting: No reason given. Maybe they are afraid of Public Comment after the last meeting’s staged lunacy! In case you missed it: https://blnnews.com/2022/12/06/normal-really-doesnt-want-citizens-interfering-in-their-playground/ FYI: Town offices will be closed on the 23rd and the 26th for Christmas. See the calendar here: https://www.normalil.gov/calendar.aspx?view=list&year=2022&month=12&day=23 Remember how Connect Transit buses […]

FOIA from Connect Transit results

By: Diane Benjamin I filed a FOIA request because of the huge entries last month for travel and meetings: “Receipts for the $8775.00 to APTA for travel and meetings on the September 2022 disbursements  Receipts for the $677.70 paid to Dave White for travel and meetings on the same list  Receipts for the $3866.53 charged […]

Good News: Connect Transit is losing less than they budgeted

By: Diane Benjamin PDF page 7 – The budgeted loss for the year is $16,350,921. That means Connect should be losing $1,362,577 a month. In September they only lost $1,148,129. The budgeted loss increased $2,593,421 this year. See last fiscal year, PDF page 7 https://www.connect-transit.com/file/686/08%2023%202022_Board%20of%20Trustees%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf Over $13,000 was spent on Travel and Meetings, of course […]

Bloomington tonight: No celebrating the national holiday

By: Diane Benjamin Packet: https://d3n9y02raazwpg.cloudfront.net/cityblm/5a2b2632-a62d-11ec-8a90-0050569183fa-d969cfc2-89f9-4a31-922c-c0ff80c0370c-1665092714.pdf Very light agenda even though the packet is 884 pages. If you are looking for the new contract with workers at the Coliseum and BCPA it is buried on page 848. The pages after go back to water treatment plant chemical systems treatment improvements – $1,510,850. The council will approve […]

Apply at Connect Transit!

By: Diane Benjamin Bus routes are being trimmed because Connect Transit doesn’t have enough drivers. Will Bloomington and Normal be getting rebates since they aren’t getting the service they paid for? 😎 https://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/connect-transit-reducing-service-due-to-staffing- See the job description here: https://www.connect-transit.com/contact/careers/open-positions/position/full-time-bus-operator Read all the way down to to bottom before applying however: . . . .

Sometimes you have to laugh!

By: Diane Benjamin Guess what this is: That is a picture from a new ELECTRIC Connect Transit bus. It holds 5 gallons, enough for 1 day. When the batteries can’t supply enough heat the buses will be keeping passengers warm with fossil fuels! Now see this story, h/t a reader: https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/hybrids-evs/how-temperature-affects-electric-vehicle-range-a4873569949/?EXTKEY=YSOCIAL_FB How Temperature Affects Electric […]

Connect Transit: Record losses!

By: Diane Benjamin PDF page 8: July 2022 PDF page 15: August 2022 Fixed Route ridership was down in August by .04% from the same month last year/ Mobility ridership was up 45% during the same time period, of course the policy changed so the price on either is the same. Video of the meetings […]

Year End: Connect Transit

By: Diane Benjamin See what CT spent on solar panels in June: $654,088.77 Year end numbers for 6/30/2022: Look at the amount of local dollars you are forced to pay for the privilege of having empty buses wreck the roads. $760,000 + $423,333 = $1,183,333. All of those other numbers are taxes too. Those numbers […]

Ride the bus for free in September

By: Diane Benjamin This was posted to the Bloomington Public Library Facebook page. Connect Transit wouldn’t exist without massive amounts of tax dollars, now they will sacrifice a few bucks to try to get riders. All you need is a library card. Expect to see full buses everywhere! 😎

Connect Transit: Ridership DOWN

By: Diane Benjamin Connect Transit didn’t release financial information at their July 26th meeting because it is year end. They did provide some other interesting information – see PDF pages 28 and following: https://www.connect-transit.com/file/637/07%2026%202022_BoT%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf Passenger trips isn’t the number of people – anyone who has to transfer to another line is counted twice on their […]

Couple more things from Bloomington last Monday

By: Diane Benjamin Donna Boelen wanted this on the record, unless you see her Council comment at the end of the meeting it is only on the record for staff. Donna asked again about the updated Intergovernmental Agreement with Connect Transit. Supposedly Bloomington has done their work and it’s sitting in Normal stalled. She shouldn’t […]

Dying to know what Bloomington is doing tonight?

By: Diane Benjamin If you want to see what bills are being paid they are no longer under City Council, probably because the Council never questions them at a meeting. They are now under Finance. The report still shows 970 employees: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument/28098 Did you know this what your tax dollars pay every month? (Connect Transit) Green Top […]

April: Every ride on a bus was subsidized $4.89

By: Diane Benjamin The Connect Transit Board met back on May 24th: https://www.connect-transit.com/file/586/05%2024%202022_Board%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf Of course they lost over ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Ridership from March dropped 3.31%, maybe because service hours and miles dropped – See PDF page 8. Connect Mobility ridership was down .52%, every ride on their smaller buses had a subsidy of $32.75! […]

Bus service to Rivian: $1 million

By: Diane Benjamin This won’t be the only story from the Normal Town Council meeting last night. How did employees get to Diamond Star? How did they get to Mitsubishi? Neither had bus service. Who wants bus service now? How many of those buses will be empty for the low low price of $1,000,000? General […]

Monday: American Rescue Plan Bucks

By: Diane Benjamin If you don’t know inflation is caused by the printing of money the Feds handed out across the country, see if Heartland offers a basic economics course. (Too much money chasing too few goods) Both Bloomington and Normal are meeting on Monday. Bloomington is holding a Committee of the Whole Meeting to […]

More on Normal tonight:

By: Diane Benjamin Besides handing a big raise to Pam Reece, below are a few items on the agenda. Will $8000 more cover inflation for her? https://blnnews.com/2022/04/29/bobbleheads-vote-to-raise-pam-reeces-salary/ At the April 4th Normal meeting the council approved sending $79,612.50 to Connect Transit: https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4265 Tonight they will send this to the empty bus folks: https://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4283 Did Normal […]

Connect Transit: meeting tomorrow

By: Diane Benjamin March reports for tomorrow’s meeting: https://www.connect-transit.com/file/571/04%2026%202022_Board%20of%20Trustees%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf . Revenue: $115,067.82 Expenses: $1,131,101.01 Operating loss: $1,016,033.19 .Revenue Revenue didn’t even cover Group Health Insurance for the month: $123,949.81 Fixed Route: We don’t know how many people were counted twice because they had to change buses. Connect Mobility: Remember when I reported on “microtransit” from […]

Green believers on Bloomington council

By: Diane Benjamin Local election are early next year. Those who think you should pay for the below need replaced: The slide below was shown during presentation at Bloomington Council on Regeneration/Preservation of older neighborhoods. It was part of the staff presentation: Since Hawthorne Hills doesn’t need Regeneration/Preservation, what area of the City are they […]

Both Bloomington and Normal meet tonight

By: Diane Benjamin http://bloomingtonil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1164&Inline=True Bloomington will hear from Connect Transit tonight concerning their budget. You will hear it’s essential to lose at least $1 million a month. Next the Council will contemplate 4 Council initiatives. Brought by Jamie Mathy who is no longer on the Council. He wanted incentives from the City (your money) to […]

Survey in THREE Languages

By: Diane Benjamin The McLean County Regional Planning Commission launched a new survey you MUST take. Those who believe government solves every problem will be taking this survey. If you believe in limited government, your thoughts need to be included too. The intro says it will take 15-20 minutes, it will take that long only […]

Celebrate Electric Buses!

By: Diane Benjamin Connect Transit Board meeting yesterday: https://www.connect-transit.com/file/556/03%2022%202022_Board%20of%20Trustees%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf Payment: $2,490,777 Add that to the $1,589,156 from this story: https://blnnews.com/2022/02/21/connect-transit-pays-proterra-for-electric-buses/ The total cost of 4 buses is $4,390,913. They still have $310,980 to go (unless that was sent as a deposit and I missed it) Next add $1,715,000 for solar panels. https://blnnews.com/2021/03/04/pulling-the-plug-on-electric-buses/ All this so […]

Connect Transit pays Proterra for Electric buses

By: Diane Benjamin That amount is far from what the total cost is: PDF page 26 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Yp2A-6qp7zjhmjc2XVjk9RPUrY9-yDxx/view Connect thinks you don’t pay Federal or State taxes. No local funds used. (Ha!) https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/report-philadelphias-proterra-fleet-in-complete-shambles/ Excerpt: The entire fleet of Proterra buses was removed from the roads by SEPTA, the city’s transit authority, in February 2020 due to […]

Connect Transit News

By: Diane Benjamin Meeting schedules frequently change during the holidays, but Connect Transit is taking a holiday schedule to a new level: Just skip two months. Connect has reduced service because of a driver shortage. Now they are skipping November and December meetings. https://www.connect-transit.com/documents/Meetings/2021%20-%20Calendar%20of%20Mtgs%20-%20CT%20Board%20FINAL.pdf The Board is planning a two day retreat in December however: […]

More proof government never fixes problems

By: Diane Benjamin I’ve done numerous stories about Connect Transit buses destroying the infrastructure at the north west corner of Portillos. It is impossible for the huge buses to make that turn without running over the curb and sidewalk. That of course crushes the concrete. The corner has been fixed but the bus route was […]

5 Things you need to know

By: Diane Benjamin 1) Pantagraph article on the Normal Town Council meeting: https://pantagraph.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/watch-now-mural-controversy-raises-new-questions-about-disconnect-in-normal/article_9ea2ebcb-99b6-55e9-8798-76e5962bb873.html Excerpt: Did the reporter watch the meeting? A “number of people” were disrupting the meeting. Was the reporter told not to mention the only reason Public Comment was moved is because Stan Nord made a motion to let them speak? It wasn’t […]

Connect Transit Success (cough cough)

By: Diane Benjamin I never got around to reporting Connect Transit had a great year! Instead of losing the budgeted $12,825,000, they only lost $11,939,195. They saved taxpayers almost $886,000! Between regular buses and Connect Mobility ridership was down 12.4% from the previous fiscal year. Connect reports Congress is going to throw them more money […]