Posted on January 15, 2010 3:28 AM
Weekly Update, 1-15-10
CMAP Board meeting recap. At this week’s meeting, the Board endorsed the preferred Regional Scenario, which describes the key policy directions that will be the focus of GO TO 2040. The Board and the MPO Policy Committee endorsed the document with a few minor word changes that will be reflected in the final version that we intend to distribute in next week’s email. With this endorsement, staff will continue to work with the committees and the Board over the next few months to develop specific recommendations or policies in the areas highlighted in the preferred Regional Scenario.
Continuing with our schedule of potential GO TO 2040 recommendations, the Board focused its attention on data sharing and transparency. After a brief overview from the staff explaining how the topic fits within GO TO 2040 and why it should be a priority recommendation, the Board discussed the direction we want to go in the regional plan. Next month, we will focus our attention on land use and housing and resource conservation.
MPO Policy Committee recap. At their meeting on Thursday, the Policy Committee also endorsed the preferred Regional Scenario. Additionally, they discussed the ongoing work for the transportation financial plan and major capital projects that will be included in GO TO 2040. Following up from a request at their last meeting, the Committee also listened and engaged in a discussion concerning a presentation about CMAQ funding of private-sector diesel emission reduction projects that focused on their air quality benefits and a brief history of the projects throughout the region.
The Committee voted to approve the implementation plan for CMAQ rescissions that will address the $83 million reduction in the northeastern Illinois Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program funds that occurred last year. To decide how the Surface Transportation Program (STP) rescission should be addressed, the Committee agreed to activate their SAFETEA-LU committee. Finally, the Committee was updated on the status of the transportation related components of the ARRA program, including the region’s progress on the formula programs. The Policy Committee will meet next on March 11, 2010.
Tax snapshot. Don't miss "State and Local Taxation: Existing Conditions and Issues of Significance in Metropolitan Chicago," the latest report in our Regional Snapshots series. It describes a range of key issues related to state and local tax policies, along with existing state and local revenue sharing arrangements. The report also summarizes current research on the relationship between taxation, business activity, and land use decisions.
State legislative update. This week the General Assembly convened for the beginning of the Spring legislative session and on Wednesday the Governor gave his State of the State address. As was discussed at both the CMAP Board and Policy Committee meetings, CMAP’s legislative priority for this year is to restore the Comprehensive Regional Planning Fund. The fund was created and passed into law in 2007 for comprehensive regional planning throughout Illinois. CMAP utilizes this fund to match federal transportation funds and also to support the agency’s non-transportation planning activities. We will continue to work with the Governor’s office, IDOT and the General Assembly members to restore the fund this year. Additionally, as the legislative session gets underway, staff will be monitoring and responding to relevant bills that move through the legislative process.
Water in the news. As you may have seen, the front page of Thursday's Tribune had a feature about efforts by some Lake County communities to get access to water from Lake Michigan. It quotes Tim Loftus of CMAP with regard to the Regional Water Supply Planning Group's draft water plan, which the group will vote to approve on January 26. The story also includes a map based on GIS data that we provided. Also, the water advocacy nonprofit Circle of Blue has a story on the draft plan.
NSP2 news. Congratulations to local recipients of stimulus grants through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, including the City of Chicago ($98 million), City of Evanston ($18.2 million), and Chicanos Por La Causa ($13.5 million). CMAP and its partners in the Chicago Metropolitan Neighborhood Stabilization Consortium (CMNSPC) worked very hard to submit a strong proposal that was not funded, which is especially disappointing in light of the HUD solicitation's language encouraging regional cooperation. That proposal seemed to hit all the right notes and was based on real and extensive collaborations, which I am confident will continue despite this setback. We look forward to hearing from HUD regarding their reviewers' rationale in not funding a consortium project that would have had extremely widespread benefits across the seven-county region. Still, it's good news that more than $160 million overall will come to Illinois for keeping people in their homes and creating jobs in these difficult times.
FTA New Starts change. On Wednesday, USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the Federal Transit Administration has changed the process for rating and evaluating New Starts and Small Starts projects. The change will remove the cost-effectiveness rating as the only limiting factor in recommendations for funding and will now use the overall project rating. This change is being made to take into account the full range of benefits that transit can provide, with special focus on economic development, environmental, social, and congestion relief benefits that are key factors in USDOT’s livability and sustainability initiatives. The FTA is expected to start soon on a rulemaking process to accomplish this policy change. The comprehensive planning of the GO TO 2040 campaign has placed northeastern Illinois in a good position with regards to the new direction. A copy of Secretary LaHood’s letter is available here.
RACC making waves. The Regional ARRA Coordinating Council (RACC)was recently spotlighted in the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank's Profitwise News and Views newsletter for its coordination with organizations like CMAP, The Chicago Community Trust, and other groups focused on issues of housing, energy, and workforce development.
Northeastern Illinois photography show. To share the dozen winning photographs from our Images of Northeastern Illinois Photo Contest we’ve planned to have the photos on display starting Saturday, January 30, at Prairie Bread Kitchen in Oak Park. The show will run for the entire month of February. Please join CMAP staff on the 30th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the bakery, and you can also meet some of the artists. Thanks to Prairie Bread Kitchen for the opportunity to show off these beautiful images of our region.
2010 Calendar. Speaking of the Photo Contest, CMAP has also created an appealing 2010 calendar featuring each of our winning photos. You can order one for yourself (or for a friend) online for free.
Planning awards. Congratulations to the Wicker Park and Bucktown Special Service Area (WPB) for three recent awards honoring the Master Plan for Wicker Park and Bucktown (WPB). The plan received a 2010 National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach from the American Planning Association, a Special Achievement Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, and recognition from the Congress for New Urbanism Illinois. Read the full announcement here.
Green business event. The 2010 State of Green Business Forum is coming to Chicago on February 9, 2010. Dave Meyers of Johnson Controls and a roster of industry leaders will share real-world insights on important trends in green and sustainable business practices from carbon management to green marketing. Attendees will receive a copy of the "State of Green Business Report 2010," a set of graphics for your own presentations, and a collection of reports, white papers, and presentations for reference and planning. For more information, go to http://greenbiz.com/stateofgreenbusinessforum2010.
Water funding opportunity. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is providing $250 million in grants and project agreements targeted at restoring the health of the Great Lakes. Any proposals seeking an endorsement from Chicago Wilderness should contact Chris Mulvaney (email@example.com or 847-242-6424) immediately.
Sustainable downtowns. The Downtown Advocate's Wyman Carey blogged about the importance designing a sustainable downtown for Pingree and the steps necessary for success. In one of a four-part series, Carey emphasized the need to coordinate with government and transit authorities, including CMAP.
Mythbusters. EcoMyths Chicago's December 2009 Myth of the Month answers the question: Are we protected against water shortfalls because we live next to Lake Michigan? CMAP's Tim Loftus fashioned the answer.
Recovery blog. In case you missed it, we blogged about the Illinois Economic Recovery Plan and more green jobs coming to Chicago this week.
The CMAP Channel. Did you know you can subscribe to the CMAP You Tube account? That way you can receive an email each time we update it with our latest videos and news coverage. Sign up today.
In the GO TO 2040 blog. We featured a serene photo of the Des Plaines River near Willow Springs as our Monday Flickr Photo. CMAP’s Diana Torres also summarized the DuPage Environmental Summit held earlier this month.