Official urges Yorkville to stick with current KAT transit service
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org March 1, 2013 12:50PM
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:40AM
YORKVILLE — The Kendall Area Transit program is a service to the community and an economic development tool, the program’s director believes.
Paul LeLonde, program director with the DeKalb-based Voluntary Action Committee which operates the Kendall Area Transit service, told aldermen the community benefits from the $23,000 Yorkville contributes to KAT’s operations budget.
“It’s a service to our community’s most frail and vulnerable people,” LeLonde said. “... Public transportation is part of every community’s infrastructure.”
LeLonde appeared before the City Council in response to early city budget discussions that included talk of cutting Yorkville’s contribution to KAT.
The possible cut was included in a number of cost saving ideas city staff suggested. City Administrator Bart Olson said staff included the proposal after several aldermen asked about it. KAT serves about 200 regular customers in Yorkville.
LeLonde said those 200 riders have “few or no other mobility options” for getting to the store, doctor’s appointments or anywhere else.
But he argued the money goes beyond the 200 patrons.
He said when businesses or individuals look at amenities when moving into a community, “commitment to public transit is often high on the list.” He also pointed out that the more local contribution there is, the more KAT can leverage that to get state and federal funds, which is the bulk of the organization’s funding.
Mayor Gary Golinski reiterated what he said when the issue first came up two weeks ago — that because KAT is a countywide organization, the county perhaps should be responsible for paying for it.
“I think most on this council realize how important KAT service is,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to discuss as we discuss the budget. It’s more a question of how it should be funded than anything else.”
Anyone can use KAT, if they register for the service. But it is mostly low-income residents, seniors and physically challenged who use it. Riders pay $3 for a basic ride, with a $1 discount for senior citizens and the disabled.