Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 19, 2012

Transit group seeks help

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — In an effort to get the public more engaged about bringing a full-fledged public transportation system to Effingham County, the people setting up the system are asking for help.

The public is invited to generate ideas for a slogan that will help put the Effingham County Public Transportation system in the public's collective mind. The system's Public Education & Outreach group discussed the need for a slogan at its Tuesday morning meeting.

"We may get our community engaged by asking for this," said Jean Bohnhoff, of the Effingham Senior Center. "The more we get people engaged, the more we get them thinking about public transportation."

"Anything to generate momentum for the system is a good thing," added Bill Jung, of Rides.

Representatives from Central Illinois Public Transit - designated as the system provider - and Rides Mass Transit each pledged $50 gift cards to the person with the best slogan.

Deadline for the slogan contest is Jan. 24. Entries may be sent to Central Illinois Public Transit by email at cefs@cefseoc.org, or by regular mail at 1805 S. Banker St., P.O. Box 928, Effingham IL 62401.

Participants should include their name, address and telephone number with submission.

Entries will be discussed at the group's next meeting, set for 5 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Effingham Senior Center, 209 S. Merchant St.

Developing a full-fledged public transportation system has become a convoluted process. The Effingham County Board chose Central Illinois Public Transportation as the system operator earlier this year. But the Illinois Department of Transportation, which controls funding for public transportation in Illinois, declined to accept the board's decision on grounds that the CIPT system proposal did not meet its standards. Instead, IDOT gave the county the option to either allow CIPT to upgrade its plan or award the bid to Harrisburg-based Rides Mass Transit. The board opted to stick with CIPT.

Consequently, both the public education and system developments have reconvened in an effort to facilitate the funding process. The system development group met last month.

Meanwhile, both CIPT and Rides have established demand response service throughout the county. CIPT also has a contract with Midland Area Agency on Aging and Medicaid recipients, while Rides serves ARC Community Support Services and the Effingham Senior Center.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.