Posted on October 19, 2007 12:49 AM
Weekly Update, 10/5/07
D.C. Trip. I just got back from two days visiting with our Congressional delegation and federal officials. I consider this the most successful such effort I've been associated with. Our members and their staffs were very interested in the major issues that we are pursuing, the comprehensive planning process and our technical assistance to communities. All of the meetings got off to a good start when we gave them each a gift of the new CMAP regional base map and a new map of their district. In turn, I appreciated the chance to talk about how CMAP could help them in the pursuit of their policy agendas. I described our ability to provide data, information and analysis -- an offer of assistance that has already been taken up by a number of members. We also met with the Deputy Secretary of USDOT and several senior staff members to talk about congestion, capital funding, and transit funding in northeastern Illinois. He told the USDOT officials of the region's deep disappointment that a couple of their recent funding announcements did not award any funding to the Chicago area. Following the discussion, I feel that USDOT truly wants to help us address these issues and promised to look at opportunities to provide new funding.
CMAP and MPO Policy Committee meetings. Both coordinating committees, Planning and Programming, will meet at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 10. The Board will meet at 9:30, and the Executive Committee will meet following the Board at around 11:00. The MPO Policy Committee will meet on Thursday, October 11 at 10:00 a.m. All of the meetings are at the CMAP offices, with agenda and materials available on-line (http://chicagoareaplanning.org/committees/).
Legislative update. This week was the first week of veto session, and we are a step closer to SB 1201 becoming law, although we are not quite finished. The Senate voted to override the Governor's amendatory veto on Wednesday with a vote of 53-1. It will be considered in the House next week.
WBEZ on water supply. Chicago Public Radio recently aired a thoughtful story (http://tinyurl.com/33hm9b) by reporter Sandy Hausman about water supplies, especially in Kane County. The story featured interviews with Kane County board chair Karen McConnaughay (who also chairs CMAP's Regional Water Supply Planning Group or RWSPG) and CMAP's Tim Loftus (who staffs the RWSPG).
La Raza editorial. CMAP Board member and Resurrection Project executive director Raul Raymundo contributed an editorial (http://www.chicagoareaplanning.org/news/pdf/laraza_editorial_9-30-07.pdf) that ran in last weekend's edition of La Raza. The op-ed piece calls on residents to speak out in support of stable funding for mass transit. Raul points out that the recent temporary bailout has only delayed the day of reckoning: "This unthinkable day has nearly arrived because leaders in Springfield still have not reached agreement on how to raise revenue for desperately needed funds to keep trains and buses in operation."
Newsviews. After the false start last week, our segment on ABC-TV Channel 7's will air this Sunday at about 9:10 a.m. At yesterday's taping, host Alan Krasheski asked UIC's Joe DiJohn and me about potential solutions to congestion. They talked about the need to make strategic investments -- starting with stable funding of mass transit -- and to explore innovative solutions such as congestion pricing. If you miss it, the show will be at http://www.abclocal.go.com/wls/index?section=ontv&id=5296465 (and via podcast at http://abclocal.go.com/images/wls/podcasts/newsviewspod.xml), where you can also see last week's interview with Governor Blagojevich.
"Time is Money" report. Chicago Metropolis 2020 has issued a new report (http://www.chicagometropolis2020.org/documents/TimeisMoney.pdf) on the regional economic benefits of transit. The study indicates that northeastern Illinois gets a 21 percent return on transit investments -- for each $1 spent to fund the RTA's "Moving Beyond Congestion" plan, we get back $1.21 in saved jobs, new jobs, and time saved for commuters. It also says that adopting transit-oriented development throughout the region would increase that investment return to 61 percent by enabling more people to live or work near transit, potentially bringing an additional $640 million annually in economic benefits without spending beyond what the RTA has proposed.
"Seal the Deal" ECD event. On Friday, November 30, CMAP will host a roundtable called "How to Seal the Deal: The Role of Planners, Municipal Managers and Economic Development Practitioners." The discussion will focus on best practices in planning and economic development. It will highlight successful developments to show how developers, municipal managers, and planners can come together in a team approach. The event is co-hosted by Commonwealth Edison and is geared to municipal managers and economic and community development practitioners. The event will be 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at ComEd Commercial Center, 1919 Swift Dr., Oakbrook. A registration fee of $25 includes lunch. Attendees should RSVP to Brian Rademacher (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-386-8668).
Sustainability report. This week, staff member Jesse Elam presented his draft report on sustainability (http://tinyurl.com/2pdgds) at a CMAP brown bag lunch session. Please take a look at the white paper, which is a precursor to our next Regional Snapshot report. The report helps to define sustainability and to develop indicators that will feed into the Regional Comprehensive Plan.
Ryerson University students. CMAP welcomed about 50 senior, undergraduate planning students from the university in Toronto this week. After a quick overview of CMAP and the Regional Comprehensive Plan, we put the students to work on a visioning exercise somewhat similar, but abbreviated, to the format from the visioning event. The students responded enthusiastically to the exercise and it helped us to devise a low-tech, two staff person approach to how we can facilitate this workshop to a broader audience in an easy format.