Possible funding challenges ahead for transportation industry

By WEEK Reporter

Possible funding challenges ahead for transportation industry

September 5, 2013 Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 9:57 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Public transportation use is on the rise in the Heart of Illinois and around the nation.

But, the industry could soon be facing some bumpy roads.

Former transportation secretary Ray LaHood was the guest speaker at the Illinois Public Transportation Association's fall conference Thursday.

LaHood said the biggest problem facing the industry is federal funding.

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

But 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," said Tom Lucek, general manager of City Link. "He prepared us for the debate in Congress, which will be over how will we fund transportation in the future."

A couple of ideas on how to fund transportation in the future include implementing a user fee, or charging drivers for how far they have driven in their cars rather than by how much fuel they buy.

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