ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford Mass Transit says it can’t improve its service unless it gets help from Washington.
There’s a lot that goes into deciding whether bus service can expand. The biggest factor is money, which is why Rockford Mass Transit is trying to convince Congressman Adam Kinzinger to push for a long-term highway bill. The bill would fund bus service and other modes of public transportation.
When Swedish American Hospital’s new cancer center opens in the fall, Rockford Mass Transit wants patients to be able to take the bus. Currently, no routes stop at I-90 and Riverside. This comes just a year after RMTD added new routes to Belvidere, a change that’s been beneficial to riders like Tammy Nelson.
“I’ve been looking for work, waitressing and stuff for awhile and you can’t get to some of those places unless you get Rockford. it's very very convenient for people that don't drive and need to get around aren't able to get around to the places you need to get like doctor's appointments, you know donating and stuff and just getting around to where you need to go,” said bus passenger Tammy Nelson.
Other local leaders are also pushing for commuter rail, however Kinzinger says with the nation’s financial situation his top priorities are funding our highways and bus systems.
Funding covered by the highway bill is expected to dry up sometime next year. Kinzinger says he’s optimistic a long term bill will pass soon.