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December 6, 2013

CMAP Weekly Update, 12-6-13

First Off...

Springfield. On Tuesday, lawmakers approved reforms affecting the State's public employee pension systems after having spent the last several legislative sessions trying to reach agreement on how to close the State's unfunded pension liability gap and to address future pension benefits. The Conference Committee Report for SB 1 narrowly passed both the House and Senate with the support of all four legislative leaders and the Governor. Major benefit changes included an increase to the retirement age on a graduated scale, a reduction to Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) by applying increases to a formula, a reduction to employee contributions by one percent as a form of "consideration," imposition of a pensionable salary cap, and creation of an optional defined contribution plan for Tier 1 active members.  The bill also requires the State to make payments into the various pension funds.  Signed into law yesterday by Governor Quinn, the bill is estimated to save $160 billion over 30 years and be fully funded by 2043.  The Illinois Municipal League and Illinois Issues have details.

New CMAP website.  Launched Tuesday, our new website includes improved navigation with more ways for CMAP to share and feature analysis, reports, and other information. Content is categorized to reflect the agency's work plan, with sections for About, Programs and Resources, Livability, Mobility, Economy, and Data. New illustrations bring thematic unity -- and hopefully just a bit of fun -- to the various sections. Drop-down "mega menus" allow users to easily access different sections and featured content. Updates, including Policy and Weekly Updates, are searchable and savable by topic, and our calendar of CMAP and other events is easier to use. Each top-level category has its own "Involvement & Resources" page with links to relevant committees and external resources.  Please contact Hillary Green ( with comments or questions.

Policy Updates. CMAP established three guiding principles on how the U.S. Department of Transportation can use and improve its draft Primary Freight Network, which was released in the Federal Register last month. We also described a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would launch a national vehicle miles traveled fee pilot program.

Staff progress report. The first quarter progress report (July through September) based on CMAP's work plan is now on-line.


Other News and Announcements

LTA updates. A December update for all Local Technical Assistance projects is now available. Among other highlights:

Transit task force. Just prior to Thanksgiving, the Northeastern Illinois Transit Task Force met to discuss its schedule of future meetings and report details, as well as to hear testimony from two transit experts. The task force plans to meet twice more before submitting its report and recommendations to the Governor and Illinois General Assembly by its January 31, 2014 deadline. At its next meeting on December 12, the committee will hear invited testimony from transit experts. The final meeting on January 28 will include an opportunity for public comment and a vote on the final report. Dates, times, and agendas are available on-line.

FLIP in the news. Future Leaders in Planning participant Sarah Dynia discussed the program and the importance of long-range planning with the Southtown Star this week.  The piece included a video.

GCI panel.  Earlier this week I spoke on a panel about the future of regional transportation planning with CMAP Board member Frank Beal, among others, at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Great Cities Institute, which was the subject of a blog post.

Chicago Time Machine.  Geoffrey Baer has a new special with many interactive web features. Read more in the Trib.

CMAP Blogs

Soles and Spokes. CMAP's bike-ped planning blog featured the new design manual from the National Association of City Transportation Officials. The manual, Urban Street Design Guide, provides a broad, holistic approach to the design of urban streets, which must simultaneously serve multiple purposes for multiple users.


Transportation Alternatives Program comment period. The draft set of projects for the FY 2013-14 CMAP Transportation Alternatives program was released for public comment. Send comments to Jesse Elam (, which will be accepted until December 16, 2013.

Congestion pricing. Learn more about the regional effort to implement congestion pricing, with express toll lanes that will help manage traffic and give drivers better choices for getting around.

2014 ArcGIS workshops. CMAP periodically offers a Two-Day ArcGIS Basic 10.1 Workshop, and dates have been set for 2014: February 5-6, March 19-20, April 30 to May 1, May 28-29, and June 18-19. The cost is $350. For more information and to register, please contact Jan Drennan (


Chinatown visioning meeting
December 9, 2013
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Pui Tak Center: 2216 S. Wentworth Avenue, Third Floor, Chicago
Hosted by the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis, and CMAPMore information