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December 13, 2000

Governor Announces Release of Nearly $150,000 in Funds for Illinois Transportation Programs

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced nearly $150,000 in transportation grants to help low income workers in Southern Illinois reach their jobs. The grants will be issued through the Department of Human Services (DHS).

"The lack of transportation is a significant barrier to many individuals who are attempting to work their way off Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)," said Governor George H. Ryan. "Grants like these are particularly helpful in Southern Illinois where workers don't have the benefits of mass transportation systems."

The award-winning Cars to Careers Program that helps low income workers in Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry and Williamson Counties meet their transportation needs will receive an additional $100,000 from DHS. More than $49,000 will continue funding for the Trident Transportation Program that assists workers in Alexander and Pulaski Counties reach their jobs in Cape Giradeau, Missouri.

Since its beginning, Cars to Careers has helped over 700 families with car repairs, insurance and gasoline and has provided donated, road-ready cars from local dealerships to other families in need. In addition, the Cars to Careers Program refers its customers to a network of over 40 community-based organizations to receive other assistance necessary to help families leave state subsidy.

Trident Transportation uses two vans to support workers to and from Cape Giradeau, Missouri. It is estimated that more than 300 people will be served by the program because of the new grant.

"I never get tired of acknowledging the partners, including those from the private sector, who are working with the Department to make welfare reform in Illinois among the most successful efforts in the nation," said DHS Secretary, Linda ReneƩ Baker. "I am particularly pleased that the partners associated with these two transportation projects are working very hard with other southern Illinois leaders to develop a permanent transportation solution for the area."

The Department of Human Services is working with the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago to provide technical assistance to both these programs to help them develop a plan to operate independently., The Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone, Mississippi Delta Empowerment Zone, Illinois Workforce Advantage and other partners in this effort are examining the possibility of establishing a mass transit district for the area, among other options.


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