Peoria Charter facing closure without state or federal help

Peoria Charter currently employees 30 people, after reducing it staff from 130. (Photo courtesy: Peoria Charter/Facebook)

By Blake Haas

BLOOMINGTON – The end could be near for a Central Illinois transportation company, calling on the state to help budget shortfalls affected by COVID-19.

Peoria Charter Coach Owner Bill Winkler told WJBC’s Marc Strauss, he’s facing a $90,000 bus licensing fee at the end of Oct. If the state does not step in, he will have to close his Peoria doors for good.

“I need not only federal help; I need state help, and I’m going to start with the state. This $90,000 bill that’s due, I’m counting on the BIG grant (Business Interruption Grant), which is the second round of money that our governor has received from the federal government to give to small businesses like ourselves.”

The BIG grant ranges from $5,000 to $150,000, and Winkler said he has yet to hear from the state after turning in his application two weeks ago.

“There is talk about a second round of a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) money. And cash is king and this PPP money; if I don’t get another round, then I’m not going to make it to the end of the year.”

Winkler added that Peoria Charter’s business had been reduced by 94%.

So far, Peoria Charter has received a $1.2 million bailout from the government to stay afloat, but Winkler said he used that money to hire back as many employees as he could.

However, after three months of paying employees, he ran out of the PPP money, forcing him to reduce his staff from 130 to 30.

LISTEN: Peoria Charter Owner Bill Winkler spoke to WJBC’s Marc Strauss about budget shortfalls. 

Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.

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