SMTD receives continued funding from local municipalities

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Stateline Mass Transit District serves Roscoe, Rockton, and South Beloit, IL

Stateline Mass Transit District's vital service has been serving the communities of Rockton, Roscoe, and South Beloit for the past 15 years. On Feb. 4, 2024 SMTD will celebrate 16 years in the Stateline under Executive Director Sharon Hecox. They have adhered to the motto, “We're here to get you there.” 

At the Village of Rockton Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 3, 2024, trustees voted unanimously to approve a yearly contribution of $25,000 to SMTD.

Rockton is one of three of the founding municipalities that pay this amount annually. The Village of Roscoe and City of South Beloit join Rockton in this support.

They fund SMTD under the local match of $25K. SMTD receives federal and state in addition to local government funding, which includes fares to ride.

Rockton and Roscoe Township each approved an annual contribution of $3,000. The Townships pay proportionate to their share of ridership as they don't have the larger funding stream to provide a match draw down for federal and state funding grants.

“Rockton Township has been integral in the success by working with the SMTD through IGA (intergovernmental agreement) for executive director services,” Hecox said. “They have always believed in the regional necessity for the transportation in the area.”

Service areas [PDF] covered by SMTD are Roscoe, Rockton, and South Beloit, including Roscoe and Rockton Townships.

Formerly, each of these municipalities contracted with an independent contractor to provide transportation for their senior and disabled populations only. With the formation of the Stateline Mass Transit District, service was expanded to include anyone in the community. 

SMTD trips can expand into other towns, such as Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Beloit and the Town of Beloit under a special service for medical needs. Additionally, buses hook up with Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) at 173 and Alpine (in front of Target) and with Beloit Transit System (BTS) at Shirland Avenue.

SMTD originally started with four buses which were received under a grant with the help of Congressman Don Manzullo. SMTD currently has seven buses in their fleet. All buses are handicap accessible.

These were acquired under the State of Illinois Consolidated Vehicle Procurement Program (CVP) through the Illinois Department Of Transportation (IDOT).

“The buses are 100 percent paid for” by the State of Illinois, Hecox said, without using local matching funds.

“We have been awarded state funding to purchase three expansion vehicles and intend to purchase off an upcoming state CVP contract when available,” Hecox said.

“We have applied for additional buses through the same program and hope to be awarded vehicles to replace our aging fleet.”

“SMTD is one of the few in the state to get full apportionment for public transportation.” She said other districts have received a lesser amount but SMTD is not restricted.

“As the cost of everything goes up, SMTD is continuing to look at ways of maintaining and providing top notch service,” Hecox said.

“Before we started, a question went out to the community if they would support the system,” Hecox said. But ridership has massively grown from the original number of 207 rides in the first month in 2008. In October 2023 a total of 2,539 riders took the bus.

“Our start-up money came from both the communities and organizations who generously gave us seed money. Some were municipalities and others were non-profits.” SMTD has an intergovernmental agreement with Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) to provide drivers and operations support.

Working alongside Hecox is a board of trustees composed of seven members who are appointed by local municipalities. Roscoe and Rockton each have two members on the board and South Beloit has three. The next board meeting is January 24 at 9:30 a.m. at the SMTD offices at 11722 Main Street in Roscoe.

In its first year, SMTD and the Rockton Lions Club formed a partnership during the four day Old Settlers Days festival which today has totaled thousands of shuttle rides. Shuttles have also been provided at Roscoe's Hometown Holiday celebration and at Rockton's Pelican Fest.

SMTD also has worked with South Beloit in their 100th anniversary and have also participated in the Rockton Christmas Walk lighted parades, and the OSD parade.

Rides are given to anyone who wishes to schedule one, after registering for SMTD’s Demand Response service.

Ticket payment options, in addition to paying an exact cash amount, include the Token Transit App. With the app, riders can purchase fares using no cash, no cards and no personal contact with the driver. Just download the app from either Google Play or the Apple App Store. Pay online and send a pass to any mobile phone number to get your “ticket to ride.”

After registering for the service, specific guidelines and time allowances need to be followed to ride. To set up a ride or to schedule an appointment, call 877-561-3330, or email [email protected]. More information can also be found on the website at smtd.biz or on Facebook.

All are invited to join the Stateline Mass Transit District Text Club. Just text "SMTD" to the number 815-269-9199 or go to smtd.biz for more information on the club.

SMTD changes the lives of students and those who cannot get jobs or may have no transportation because of disabilities, some are able to work and to lead productive lives.

Seniors can feel comfortable getting where they need to travel, whether shopping or going to a doctor's appointment. Young adults can grab a ride to work, or anywhere else they may want to go. Teenagers or middle to grade school age children may be picked up at home and taken to recreational facilities, to a swimming pool, to the library, or to any number of activities. Anyone can schedule to be picked up at any specific location.

Buses operate daily. To schedule a ride, call 877-561-3300, or call Sharon at 779-771-6778  Monday through Friday between the hours of 5:15 a.m. until 10 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Sunday 8:15 a.m. To 4:30 p.m.

All veterans ride free of charge.

SMTD continues to live by their motto while continuously expanding extra opportunities for riders.

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