FUND 2040 for regional infrastructure
Metropolitan Chicago must compete economically on the global stage against regions whose public investments have for decades far outpaced our own. By making a new commitment to maintain and modernize our infrastructure, we can seize opportunities to increase prosperity and quality of life across northeastern Illinois.
Other U.S. regions are far ahead of ours in raising revenues to support infrastructure projects with long-term benefits for livability, mobility, and the economy. These urban areas are using their regional revenues to make investments that give them a distinct competitive advantage over metropolitan Chicago. Current funding mechanisms in Illinois are simply not adequate for our region to meet its infrastructure needs.
Since its inception in 2005, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has worked closely with its partners and stakeholders to make the difficult choices required to boost the region's competitiveness in today's global economy. This emphasis on collaboration has helped set clear regional priorities as articulated in the award-winning GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan. But the region has been hampered by a lack of funding for the strategic investments that would help our communities achieve their goal of sustainable prosperity. While increased state and federal investment is critical, at best it is likely to meet only our maintenance needs.
CMAP is proposing creation of FUND 2040 (www.fund2040.org) to support prioritized infrastructure investments that help the region meet its goals for quality of life and economic prosperity. A modest quarter-cent increase of the regional sales tax would result annually in $300 million for projects in three categories: transportation, water, and open space. FUND 2040 will support projects that contribute to implementation of the GO TO 2040 regional plan.
While this program is not intended to solve all of the region's anticipated needs, the funds would move a significant number of important projects toward completion while leveraging private and public funding sources. And the program will be an important down payment to help drive regional economic growth for years to come.
A broad FUND 2040 coalition is calling on the Illinois General Assembly to authorize the creation of a sustainable regional infrastructure fund. For this program to be enacted, CMAP will need your hands-on leadership in advancing the proposal. We are always interested in your views. To become part of this important regional effort, please contact CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn (312-386-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org).