Former Secretary of Transportation speaks at public transportation conference

By WEEK Producer

September 5, 2013 Updated Sep 6, 2013 at 12:15 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Public transportation use is on the rise here in central Illinois and across the nation, but the industry could soon be facing some bumpy roads.

Former Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood was the guest speaker at Thursday's Illinois Public Transportation Association fall conference.

Lahood says the biggest problem facing the industry is federal funding.

A major transportation bill is set to expire, next year along with the funding behind it.

And it isn't just the loss of funding that public transportation companies have to worry about.

"The infrastructure investment that is necessary is enormous and traditional funding is not going to do it this time. He prepared us for the debate in Congress, which will be over how will we fund transportation in the future," said General Manager of City Link Tom Lucek.

The federal transportation bill expires October first of next year.