CHICAGO – February 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today kicked off the week of the fiscal year 2012 budget address by signing Senate Bill 3778, which will save taxpayers millions annually by retooling the Seniors Ride Free program.
“This reform sets the standard we must meet for state programs by reducing costs while also ensuring transportation services for our most dependent seniors,” Governor Quinn said. “To start off a week that will highlight important budget reforms, we’re taking important steps to ensure our state transit programs are fiscally responsible but also accessible to the riders who depend on them.”
Senate Bill 3778, sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), scales back the Seniors Ride Free program by providing a 50 percent discount on state transit to all senior citizens. Previously, all seniors received a free fare. The new law is estimated to save more than $30 million, and almost 60 percent of the seniors currently riding for free will still be eligible to ride without charge.
Free rides will be available to seniors who meet specific financial requirements. A one-person household with an annual income of $27,610 or less will still be eligible for the free fare, as will a two-person household earning less than $36,635 and households of three or more earning $45,657 or less.
Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 3965 today, which brings oversight of the regional transit boards under the jurisdiction of the Executive Inspector General and Executive Ethics Commission. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) and Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), requires each regional inspector general to submit a monthly report to the Executive Inspector General which will outline, among other things, the agency’s reported complaints, as well as investigation status and outcomes. The Executive Inspector General will work to detect and prevent fraud and mismanagement at all levels of the transit agencies.
Senate Bill 3778 goes into effect immediately. Senate Bill 3965 has an effective date of July 1.