Synopsis As Introduced Amends the Downstate Public Transportation Act, the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act, the Local Mass Transit District Act, and the Regional Transportation Authority Act. Provides for free fares for veterans with disabilities, reduced fares for other veterans, and free fares for specified high school students on days when school is in session on public transportation. Provides for a continuing appropriation beginning in Fiscal Year 2020 to cover the free and reduced fares. Effective immediately.
Fiscal Note (Dept. of Transportation)
RTA currently has a Free & Reduced Fare program for seniors, students, and disabled.
IDOT subsidizes $17.5 million out of the road fund (approx. 15% of the total proposed losses in revenue). IDOT does not have access to ridership numbers so is unable to project how the proposed legislation that calls for free rides for seniors and
veterans with 70% disability, half fares for veterans with 30-70% disability, and certain high school students who meet eligibility
requirements would increase the costs. Many veterans might take advantage of this program. Estimates for projected fare losses to include additional categories of ridership will need to be provided by the service boards. Collectively, the estimated FY19 revenue losses to the RTA attributable to eligible free and reduced fares is approximately $113 million. Actual revenue losses to the service boards to provide additional fare reductions will significantly increase the current amount from $113 million in FY 19. To reimburse the RTA (service boards) 100% of the proposed revenue losses that includes don't include that additional categories of ridership will take at least $95.5 million. The Road Fund does not have the cash. For the Downstate Transits Districts, the data needed to provide a fiscal cost is not available. Most of the recipients have no data to support a fact-based estimation of financial impacts. Disabled veterans covered in the new law, for example, are riding under the existing disabled free ride program but are not tracked separately or are using VA-sponsored transportation. Unfortunately, there are too many unknowns to speculate on impacts to ridership, service delivery, and the associated financial implications. Information that we have extrapolated provides an estimated financial implication totaling $4,698,498. We do not have much confidence in that number. The Road Fund does not have the cash to support this program.
State Mandates Fiscal Note (Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity)