Pursue Coordinated Investments
The issues addressed by GO TO 2040 literally transcend boundaries. They require collaboration, particularly in changing the way major investment decisions are made and coordinated across all levels of government.
One community, or even a single level of government, cannot solve our most pressing problems alone. Though northeastern Illinois is a large and diverse region, our communities are interdependent and our leaders will have to work across geographic borders to create sustainable prosperity.
A Regional Approach
Metropolitan regions drive the U.S. economy, yet state governments make most of the decisions about investing federal dollars. States too often spread those resources around too thinly, which undermines the ability of regions to implement plans no matter how well-conceived. To harness the economic power of regions like ours, the federal government should invest more in metropolitan areas and give them more authority to decide how to use those funds. Such a regional approach could focus federal investments to maximize their economic impact.
Guiding Investment Decisions
GO TO 2040 connects policy areas that have long existed in separate "silos." To implement the plan, the barriers between federal and state programs must be dismantled to help ensure they respond to the needs of communities instead of bureaucratic systems. Agencies should work together to streamline grant requirements and to align their goals, performance criteria, and funding. By making collaboration across federal and state programs routine, agencies can help regions to more effectively implement comprehensive solutions to their problems.
Government agencies also need to operate more efficiently.
Accounts of wasteful and duplicative government spending, whether real or perceived, are common. The unintended consequences of outdated policies and bureaucracies include higher government costs and less accountability. To avoid these unwanted outcomes, local governments in our region should rethink and realign their policies, programs, funding, and regulations. With over 1,200 different units of government providing services to residents, businesses, and visitors of our seven-county region, increasing efficiency depends on better coordination, communication, and where appropriate, consolidation of services.
Reform State and Federal Policies
Federal and state agencies must collaborate to modify funding formulas, project selection criteria, and grant requirements that may be causing unintended outcomes. Innovative and comprehensive approaches to policy decisions and capital investments can increase efficiency while showcasing the benefits of more coordinated governance. Achieving GO TO 2040's goal of "livable communities" requires making substantial inter-agency investments in capital improvements like brownfield remediation and providing for affordable housing near transit.
By removing "silos" to improve coordination of programs such as Transportation, Housing, and Environment at all levels — federal, state, regional, and local — we can make better use of public resources and maximize benefits to achieve desired outcomes.
Take a Regional Approach
The federal and state governments should use GO TO 2040 to align their investment decisions, incentivize and empower regional decision making, and support more comprehensive planning. As the region's planning agency, cmap should foster interjurisdictional collaboration, lead regional responses to funding opportunities, and help drive more efficient, effective, and collaborative programming decisions.
Support Consolidation of
Local governments should explore ways to coordinate or in some cases consolidate services, and these decisions should be made collaboratively and responsibly. In cooperation with their Councils of Government (COGs) and counties, local governments should analyze the fiscal impacts, efficiencies, and other consequences of sharing or consolidating local services.