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Regional Freight Leadership Task Force

Drawing on GO TO 2040, the CMAP Board convened the Regional Freight Leadership Task Force in June 2013 to explore the potential benefits of creating a Regional Freight Authority to address institutional and funding barriers affecting the freight system in northeastern Illinois.  The appointment of this Task Force acknowledged the need for a higher degree of industry involvement in the regional planning process and the importance of public/private cooperation in the creation of good freight policy.  The Task Force was created solely to advise the CMAP Board, and had no statutory or independent authority.

In its final report, the Regional Freight Leadership Task Force recommends a preferred scenario with three main components.  The first component is to incorporate comprehensive, multimodal freight planning into the regional comprehensive plan and the second is to secure new funding from user fees to invest in the regional freight system.  The third component combines the first two, harnessing the new revenues to build freight projects and fund operational programs identified in the regional plan.  Consistent with the preference expressed in GO TO 2040, the Task Force's recommendations rely on existing institutions to deliver enhanced freight governance in the region; the Task Force does not recommend establishing a new, independent "Regional Freight Authority." 

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Background

One of the GO TO 2040's twelve chapters is devoted to creating a more efficient freight network, and includes a series of specific recommendations to increase freight efficiency and interconnectedness, and strengthen metropolitan Chicago's position as an international center of goods movement and intermodal logistics.

The plan states that metropolitan Chicago has not traditionally had a champion to look out for the public interest in freight.  National discussions and decisions about the movement of goods tend to be dominated by port cities and states, despite the Chicago region's status as a national hub of truck and rail freight.  The region's lack of a voice has consequences not only at the national level, but also locally.  The region's hundreds of local governments make decisions that affect the freight system but often lack coordination, while private freight carriers often have a disincentive to collaborate within a competitive industry.  Additionally, traditional revenue sources to support public investment in the transportation system have failed to keep pace with investment needs. 

GO TO 2040 and the subsequent CMAP Freight Cluster Drill-Down Report call for a Regional Freight Authority to be explored to address institutional and funding barriers affecting the freight system in northeastern Illinois.  To move this recommendation forward, GO TO 2040 calls for the region to convene freight stakeholders and transportation implementers to discuss potential institutional models for a Regional Freight Authority, including consideration of revenue sources and governance issues.  CMAP convened the Regional Freight Leadership Task Force to meet this call.

The Task Force met from October 2013 through May 2014, and will produce a final report to the CMAP Board in June 2014.  After reaffirming the importance of freight to metropolitan Chicago's economic future and identifying the region's freight challenges, the Task Force considered how freight institutions have been developed in other regions, potential institutional models, operational improvements, and revenue strategies to support freight investment.  A full scope of the Task Force's activities is available here.

Task Force Membership

The Task Force consisted of members from the private, public, and non-profit sectors.  These members included the following:

  • Chris Berry, PhD., Associate Professor, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
  • David Brady, President, Village of Bedford Park
  • Mike Burton, President, C&K Trucking
  • Rick Dickens, Vice President, Cannonball Express Line
  • Peter Fahrenwald, Manager- Regional & Corridor Planning, Regional Transportation Authority
  • Paul Fisher, President and CEO, CenterPoint Properties Trust
  • Alicia Hanlon, Senior Transportation Planner, Will County
  • Jim LaBelle, Vice President, Metropolis Strategies
  • Paul Nowicki, Assistant Vice President Government and Public Affairs, BNSF Railway
  • Phil Resendiz, Regional Operations Manager, FedEx
  • Herbert Smith, Manager-Community Affairs, Norfolk Southern
  • John Yonan, Superintendent, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highway

Biographical sketches for each of the Task Force members are available here.  The Task Force was chaired by Michael Gorman, former president of the Village of Riverside and former CMAP Board member representing west Cook County.  In addition, Gabe Klein, former Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner, and Bill Driegert, former Chief Innovation Officer at Coyote Logistics, were appointed to the Regional Freight Leadership Task Force by the CMAP Board and served for part of its duration, but stepped down before the completion of the final report.

Meeting Dates

The Task Force met on Friday mornings at 9:30am at CMAP's offices in the Willis Tower (233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606).  The meeting dates were the following:

  • Meeting 1: October 18, 2013
  • Meeting 2: November 15, 2013 
  • Meeting 3: January 10, 2014
  • Meeting 4: February 7, 2014
  • Meeting 5: March 7, 2014
  • Meeting 6: April 4, 2014
  • Meeting 7: May 2, 2014
  • Meeting 8: May 30, 2014

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