The state budget impasse has left Illinois months behind in payment to downstate mass transit agencies. That's led to cuts in service from Kankakee to Jacksonville.
They agencies are funded in part by local sales tax collections. But that money has to pass through state government. Even after another $19.3 million dollars was released Monday, the Illinois comptroller's office says the state still owes transit agencies $70 million dollars.
Democrat Representative Jay Hoffman, from Swansea, is co-sponsoring legislation that would effectively let the agencies jump the line of Illinois' glacial bill payments.
"It's their money. It's money we say they're supposed to get. And now we're not going to wait on the inaction or action of us or anyone else before they get their money."
In addition to urban bus service, the transit agencies also provide door-to-door rides that can be a crucial lifeline for people in rural areas.
The legislation was approved in the Illinois House on a bipartisan vote of 102-12, and goes next to the state Senate.