Connect Transit serves nearly 8,000 people everyday. It’s impact in the Bloomington-Normal area is widely felt.

“Many use it. Everybody needs it. Public transportation has a huge impact on the community. It gets people to jobs, to school, to healthcare,” explained General Manager Andrew Johnson.

But the transit service is in danger of shutting down. The company announced in October that if the state doesn’t start paying its bills, the buses will have to stay parked come January 1.

This week, all 150 employees received layoff notices.

Johnson explained, “In accordance with the WARN Act, we need to notice our employees 60 days in advance to let them know of a potential layoff.”

Right now, the state owes Connect Transit $5 million. Johnson is hopeful the state will come through before the end of the year.

“We just had our town hall meeting for our citizens last week. We had state legislators and their staffs there and they remained hopeful that the state would be able to come through with at least a quarter of funding,” he said.

One quarter of funding would keep the wheels rolling for at least another three months.

“I will stress that there’s no guarantee on that. So we’re continuing to press our leaders at the state to come through for public transportation,” said Johnson. “It’s a worst case scenario, but if we get to that worst case scenario, we’ll decide then how we’ll implement any layoffs.”

If the service does have to shut down, Johnson says it will likely be temporary.

“We would make plans to return to full service with all the employees coming back,” he said.

Other transit services in the state are facing similar issues. CityLink in Peoria says it has enough money to continue running into next year, but not much after that.