Posted on January 28, 2011 1:57 PM
January 28, 2011
Table of Contents
Capital program. As you have probably heard, this week an Illinois appeals court struck down the 2009 capital bill. Governor Quinn issued a statement upon filing an appeal, and we will keep you posted. This is especially unfortunate because the capital program was already long overdue when enacted in 2009, and our state and region have a huge backlog of necessary transit, road, school, and other projects. We have been in touch with officials at the Federal Highways Administration, who said that projects in the region's short-term Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and long-term transportation plan (GO TO 2040) can continue to move forward during the appeals process. That being said, the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan (page 255) points out the need to reexamine how Illinois has traditionally funded capital improvements. It would make more sense to raise adequate revenues on a continual basis, rather than to rely on the state legislature for “boom or bust” fixes. This week's ruling is a harsh reminder that Illinois and our region need to consider carefully how we fund capital improvements.
Water forum recap. The second in a series of Water 2050 forums, The Problem with Water: Regional Flooding and Stormwater Management, was held yesterday. Attendees learned about the basics of flood insurance, how to reduce premiums through the Community Rating System, and the grant programs available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Innovative funding for stormwater management was the topic of the second panel and included examples from across the country on the use of the Clean Water State Revolving Funds for stormwater management, using green practices. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago discussed how green practices were incorporated in the Cook County Stormwater Management Ordinance, and case studies from the City of Rolling Meadows and Village of Lisle were discussed as well. Presentations from the forum will available soon on our Water 2050 website. Medill Reports Chicago wrote about the forum and interviewed CMAP's newest Board member President Mike Gorman of Riverside who was in attendance, as well as staff member Tim Loftus.
LTA deadline. Today at 5:00 p.m. is the deadline for applications to the current call for projects from CMAP's new Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program to help communities implement GO TO 2040. Read about the program in a local edition of Patch, which also describes one community's efforts. Please contact Pete Saunders (312-386-8654 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. Whether or not your community applied this time, be watching for more LTA opportunities in coming months.
UP Metra Northwest and North Lines community safety workshop. The Northwest Municipal Conference, Union Pacific Railroad, Metra, Illinois Commerce Commission, and Operation Lifesaver will conduct a workshop to address railroad safety in our communities on February 10, 2011, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Oakton Community College. RSVP online.
Other News and Announcements
CMAP in the news. Board chairman Mayor Gerald Bennett of Palos Hills attended a dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao last week, as covered in TribLocal. The blog Points and Figures also wrote about my speech last Friday at the Economic Club of Chicago. The report I previewed there, titled Economic Impacts of GO TO 2040, is now available online on The Chicago Community Trust's website. And GO TO 2040 gets a mention in this story about congestion by Medill's Jaydine Sayer.
DC recap. This week I was in Washington to give several talks at Transportation Research Board annual conference panels on freight and communications. I also took the opportunity to meet with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Commerce Committee staff members and with members of our congressional delegation to discuss the federal role in implementing GO TO 2040. And I met with staff from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, League of Cities, and National Association of Counties to discuss how to better partner on our federal agenda. Much remains to be done, including steps to increase coordination of programs at the federal, state, regional, and local levels. But I was encouraged by the support and interest expressed by our officials in Washington, as well as their awareness of GO TO 2040.
VAMOS AL AÑO 2040. A new Spanish press release about the GO TO 2040 plan is available for Spanish speaking residents. It's part of our En Español web section. For more information, contact Ricardo Lopez, Latino Outreach Assistant, (312-386-8766 or email@example.com).
CR3 RFP. We issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development of a workforce intermediary for the Chicago Region Retrofit Ramp-up (CR3) program.
MetroPulse videos on YouTube. The second and third of our informational MetroPulse videos are now on the CMAP YouTube channel this week. There, you can view and share videos about MetroPulse aimed at researchers and the general public. Information Builders, a development company that worked on MetroPulse, recently released a press release on the data portal. CMAP and The Chicago Community Trust created the system as a regional resource to track quality-of-life indicators and progress in implementing GO TO 2040.
Community college grants. The U.S. Department of Labor is accepting grant applications under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and career Training Grant Program. Approximately $500 million will be awarded through the program this year.
New immigration report. Today, the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs released a comprehensive report, Open to All: Different Cultures, Same Communities. This report features new demographic information on the variety of immigrant groups in the northern suburbs in terms of housing, employment, and consumer spending patterns.
Green Signals. This week, CMAP’s transportation operations blog informed readers about an upcoming Traffic Management in an Incident Command System webinar that will review the challenges, solutions, and lessons learned throughout the project development process for a web-based, map-driven, real-time Incident Command System. Information on how to apply for a Federal Emergency Preparedness Grant will also be presented.
Policy Updates. The Brookings Institution's Robert Puentes recently wrote a policy brief advocating reauthorization of the existing federal surface transportation law, as well as reform that could greatly benefit our region. We also blogged about a new report featuring four case studies on congestion pricing success stories from throughout the region.
Soles and Spokes. This week, CMAP’s bike-ped planning blog featured the first in a series of two articles from FHWA's Public Roads magazine, dealing with street design and how complete streets policies can help make the transportation system more accessible to all travelers. We also highlighted a new report by Smart Growth America on how transportation policies in all 50 states address – or do not address – climate change and carbon emissions. Finally, we alerted readers to a new source for information on planning for livable and accessible communities, created by the Easter Seals Project ACTION initiative.
REGISTRATION CLOSED: GO TO 2040 roundtable. On February 1, CMAP and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will co-host the first in a four-part series of roundtables on GO TO 2040. At "We Have a Plan: Now What?", I will provide an overview of the plan and share success stories from other regional efforts in the Midwest. Moderated by MPC president MarySue Barrett, the event will also feature speakers from the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission and the City of Youngstown, OH. MPC recently blogged about steps that should be taken to battle congestion in metropolitan Chicago, including recommendations made in GO TO 2040.
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