The Unified Work Program (UWP) lists the planning projects the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and other agencies undertake each year to enhance transportation in northeastern Illinois and to fulfill federal planning regulations. The UWP is designed to run in conjunction with the State of Illinois fiscal year timeline of July 1-June 30. The final UWP document includes the transportation planning activities to be carried out in the region, detailing each project's description, products, costs and source of funding.
The UWP Committee develops a program for recommendation to the MPO Policy Committee and the CMAP Board. The eight voting members of the UWP committee are 1) the City of Chicago, 2) CTA, 3) Metra, 4) Pace, 5) CMAP, 6) RTA, 7) the Regional Council of Mayors, and 8) one representative from the six collar counties. IDOT chairs the committee and votes in instances of a tie. Non-voting members include IEPA, FHWA and FTA. Member agencies of the UWP Committee traditionally receive UWP funding, but any other MPO Policy Committee agencies can submit proposals or sponsor submissions from other entities.
The UWP development process begins each fall. The UWP Committee works to set program priorities in alignment with the recommendations and implementation actions of the region's long range plan. ON TO 2050, which was adopted in October 2018 by the CMAP Board and MPO Policy Committee, is the region's latest long range comprehensive plan and serves as a blueprint for selecting planning projects in the UWP. CMAP's Transportation Committee also considers the UWP priorities prior to the annual project selection process.
Eligible agencies develop project proposals and submit them to the UWP Committee for review. Projects required to meet federal regulations are selected first in the Core Program, with a second tier of Competitive projects reviewed and ranked by the Committee. Both Core and Competitive projects are selected at the March UWP Committee meeting. The UWP Committee prepares a draft program consisting of all the funded UWP projects and submits it to the Transportation Committee for consideration. Following their review, the draft program is sent to the MPO Policy Committee and CMAP Board for consideration of endorsement at their June meeting.
The sources of federal planning funds are the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. The FY 2020 UWP awarded more than $18.1 million in federal funding, along with the required 20 percent of local matching funds, resulting in approximately $22.6 million dedicated to transportation planning in the northeastern Illinois region.