SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (New First) — The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that it has been awarded $1.8 million from the Federal Transit Administration to improve access to public transportation in Southern Illinois. The funding, part of the Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Pilot Program, aims to benefit people with disabilities, older adults, and low-income residents by enhancing integration of trip scheduling and fare collection across 20 counties.

“This grant is an important step toward making the transit experience seamless for those who need it most,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. The pilot program will initially focus on better linking schedules and transfer locations among Shawnee Mass Transit District, Rides Mass Transit District, South Central Mass Transit, and Monroe Randolph Transit District.

The initiative, supported by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is praised by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski for its potential to significantly improve transit accessibility in the region.