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March 22, 2013
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CMAP Weekly Update, 3-22-13

Among the highlights from CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn, the important role that congestion pricing revenues could play in funding the Elgin O'Hare Western Access project, new Policy Updates include an exploration of the changing skill requirements of the region's manufacturing labor force and new bill on strengthening national freight policy recommendations, and updates and news on LTA projects in Riverside, Hinsdale, Northlake, Northwest Cook County, Plainfield, and Chicago. Subscribe to get Weekly Updates by e-mail.


First Off...

Congestion pricing revenues. Additional revenues from congestion pricing on the Elgin O'Hare Western Access could play an important role in filling the $300 million funding gap for that project, as described in our Policy Updates blog. Visit to learn more about congestion pricing. To support CMAP's efforts on this issue, please contact Erin Aleman (312-386-8816 or For example, this week the Southwest Conference of Mayors became the latest group to pass a supporting resolution, specifically highlighting the importance of using pricing to manage traffic on the new lane that IDOT plans to add to the I-55 Stevenson Expressway.

Manufacturing cluster report. The Policy Updates blog explores the changing skill requirements of the region's large and diverse manufacturing labor force. The piece features findings from CMAP's new manufacturing cluster report. Visit the Regional Manufacturing Cluster drill-down web page for much more.

Policy Updates. In early March, a new bill intended to strengthen national freight policy recommendations and related programs in last summer's two-year transportation reauthorization bill (MAP-21) was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. We also described a new Brookings Institution report on recommended improvements to Amtrak. Additionally, we covered the 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, released this week by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). ASCE assigned a cumulative GPA of D+ to the nation's infrastructure. Illinois also received an overall grade of D+. Lastly, we provided an update on recent state legislative activities. In other news, the Aurora Beacon-News covered suburban housing trends, citing analysis from a recent Housing Policy Update.

Federal funding update. On Thursday, March 21, the U.S. Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through September 2013. The resolution would maintain surface transportation spending levels authorized by MAP-21, in contrast to the original U.S. House of Representatives version of the legislation.


Other News and Announcements

LTA updates. Among recent highlights from CMAP's Local Technical Assistance program:

CMAP media tip sheet. Our latest tip sheet includes information on findings from the new Regional Manufacturing Cluster report, CMAP-led panels and activities at the upcoming American Planning Association national conference in Chicago, and more.

Stormwater fees. Last week, HB 1522 passed the Illinois House of Representatives. As described in our Policy Updates blog, the bill would create a pilot program allowing DuPage and Peoria Counties to use a stormwater fee system for stormwater programs. In related news, a CMAP publication describes how local governments can use stormwater utilities to address local flooding and drainage problems. For additional information on the guide, contact Jesse Elam ( or 312-386-8688).

R&D in the news. Crain's Chicago Business described efforts by smaller manufacturers to allocate additional resources towards research and development. The article refers to CMAP's new manufacturing cluster drill-down report.

CMAQ in the news. The Woodstock Independent mentioned a bicycle lane connecting Woodstock to McHenry County College and the Prairie Trail system. The project is partially funded through CMAP's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.

Circle Interchange hearing. The Illinois Department of Transportation will host an open house-style public hearing to discuss the preferred alternative for reconstruction of the Circle Interchange on April 3 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC (625 S. Ashland Avenue, Chicago).

GPA conference. The Grants Professional Association - Chicago Area chapter will host a regional conference on April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Macy's (Narcissus Room, Seventh Floor, 111 N. State Street, Chicago). Registration closes on April 17.


CMAP Blogs

Soles and Spokes. CMAP's bike-ped planning blog highlighted a new Walk Friendly Communities guide, "Giving Cities Legs," with case studies to help communities become more pedestrian friendly.



Automation event. Manufacturing and production efficiency will be among topics emphasized at the Automation Conference on May 14-15 at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare. Early bird registration pricing ends April 2 for this education and networking event, which is geared to automation professionals across all industries involved in processing, manufacturing, and packaging.

Deadline extended: Chaddick Municipal Development Award. DePaul University's Chaddick Institute requests nominations for its 2013 Municipal Development Award. The deadline for applications has been extended through April 1. Contact Kate Witherspoon (563-505-6826 or

EI2 rebates. Energy Impact Illinois (EI2) is offering rebates up to $1,750 (an estimated 70-percent cost savings) for upgrades you can make to improve the comfort of your home. For more information, contact Emily Plagman at To see if you qualify for the rebate, please call 1-855-9-IMPACT.

Proposed IDNR rule change. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on proposed rules changes for the allocation of Lake Michigan water. Comments will be accepted through April 5, 2013.

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