Who is funding these programs?
Funding for this program comes from a combination of federal, state, local, and foundation funds from CMAP and the RTA.
Can I preview the application questions before submitting on Google Forms?
A PDF copy of the application is available now, if you would like to view the questions before submitting an application.
Who is eligible to apply for assistance?
Local governments (municipalities and counties) throughout northeastern Illinois, Chicago community areas, and non-governmental organizations that partner with City of Chicago communities are eligible to apply for CMAP assistance in the 2022 call for projects. The RTA will accept applications from local governments and from the transit service boards.
Is a local contribution required?
Local contribution for CMAP projects depends on the type, size, and community cohort of the project proposed. This year, local contributions will not be required for certain CMAP project types, including Capital Improvement Programming (CIP), Homes for a Changing Region plans, local road safety plans, NEXT program, and ROI program. Learn more about the local contribution and see a schedule of CMAP’s local contribution amounts.
The RTA will require a local match for larger projects, such as TOD plans and corridor studies, following the contribution amounts based on the CMAP Community Cohorts.. The local match is waived for smaller, implementation projects, such as developer discussion panels and TOD zoning code updates.
What is a community cohort and how is it determined?
Community cohorts are established by grouping communities throughout the CMAP region based on four factors — total population, median household income, tax base per capita, and the percent of the population located in an economically disconnected or disinvested area. CMAP uses the most recent data available to update the list of community cohorts each year. Learn more about the tool and the methodology used for determining cohort designations and see a list of the FY21 community cohorts.
What is a local contribution?
In 2015, CMAP established a policy to require a local contribution for planning assistance. This financial contribution has helped demonstrate local commitment and increased local ownership of the projects. To provide transparency, predictability, and consistency in the local contribution amounts, the schedule of "Local Contributions by Project Type" may be revised and republished from time to time as deemed necessary.
In a similar manner, the RTA requires a local match, which is also based on community cohort, for larger projects but it is waived for smaller implementation projects.
Will applicants need to pay the local contribution when submitting their application?
No, applicants are not required to pay the local contribution when submitting an application. CMAP expects applicants to have the local contribution available once a project starts. The exact date the local contribution is due will be negotiated as part of the intergovernmental agreement. CMAP and the RTA are flexible with project start dates and can work around local budget cycles. In most cases, the RTA will invoice for local contribution payments once a project completes.
What types of projects have CMAP and the RTA worked on in the past?
See the eligible project types for 2022. Please visit CMAP’s website, RTA’s website, and RTAMS to learn more about previously funded plans.
Can I apply for more than one type of assistance?
You may apply for more than one type of assistance by completing a separate application form.
How many projects will the agencies select this year?
CMAP and the RTA have limited resources for these programs, and not all applications will be selected. Historically, CMAP and the RTA have selected less than 40 percent of the applications received. Please review the application materials for more information on the approximate number of applications that will be selected for each type of assistance offered by CMAP.
What projects are NOT eligible?
Funds available through these programs are for planning and implementation purposes only. Project phases, such as land acquisition, engineering, or capital investment, are not intended to be pursued through these programs. Additionally, this program does not offer funds for staff time. Any financial commitment from CMAP or the RTA is dedicated to hiring external contractors/consultants or providing CMAP or RTA staff assistance. The 2022 program focuses on creating local plans and ordinances, building local governments’ capacity, and implementing previously created technical assistance plans.
How will projects be evaluated?
CMAP will evaluate projects based on its thematic priorities and will select projects based on the amount of resources available. Once the initial applications are evaluated, an applicant may be contacted to provide further information via a survey and/or an interview.
Potential projects are reviewed by CMAP staff, partner technical assistance providers, countywide departments of transportation, planning directors, applicable transit service board(s), and the Illinois Department of Transportation for funding eligibility. Additionally, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and the Chicago Department of Transportation also will re-review potential projects within the City of Chicago.
The RTA will evaluate transit-related projects based on agency priorities, goals of Invest in Transit, and will select projects based on the amount of resources available. Potential projects are reviewed by RTA staff, partner technical assistance providers, transit Service Boards, and other coordinating agencies as needed. Applicants to the RTA will be contacted to provide further information via an interview. The RTA also will prioritize applicants from Cohorts 3 and 4, but communities from all cohorts are welcome to apply.
Are transit service boards (aka CTA, Metra, and Pace) involved in transit-related projects?
Each transit agency that may be potentially impacted by a study is invited to participate in the planning process. Additionally, it may be appropriate to involve CMAP in an RTA-led project, and vice versa. Applicants are encouraged to coordinate project applications with the impacted transit service board(s) by emailing a brief description of their project to the appropriate service board contacts.
Who are the partner technical assistance providers mentioned in the “How will projects be evaluated” FAQ above?
CMAP and the RTA regularly partner with several technical assistance providers on projects, including: Active Transportation Alliance, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Community Trust, Elevated Energy, Illinois Housing Development Authority, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Metropolitan Planning Council, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Openlands, and the Urban Land Institute.
Who is responsible for managing the project?
A CMAP or RTA staff member or representative will be assigned to each project to assist with project development and management. The local partner will be responsible for overall project management. Administrative and invoicing responsibilities will vary, depending on the assigned funding agency (CMAP or RTA) and procurement method selected.
I submitted an application by the October 28 due date. What are the next steps and how are projects selected?
An overall timeline is outlined above. CMAP and the RTA will begin reviewing applications immediately after the close of the application period on October 28 at noon. Once the initial applications are evaluated applicants may be contacted to provide further information via a survey and/or an interview. Applicants will be notified by the appropriate agency regarding final selections and subsequent steps for projects admitted into the program will depend on which agency funds the project.
What is the anticipated timeframe for projects to begin?
Project development begins once a project is selected. RTA and CMAP’s goal is to initiate most of the projects by the summer and fall of 2022 but some could start earlier.
What type of agreement needs to be signed before a project begins?
CMAP and the RTA require an intergovernmental agreement to be signed and if a local contribution is required, a resolution to be approved before starting projects.
How do CMAP and the RTA decide whether to provide selected communities with staff assistance, consultant assistance, or other types of assistance?
During the project review and evaluation process, staff may contact applicants to gain a better understanding of their project. After selection, the agencies confirm with the project sponsors whether the project will be accomplished through assigning staff time, providing a grant, conducting a consultant selection process led by CMAP or RTA, or other options.
Who do I contact if I still have questions?
Please contact us by using firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also contact: Jonathan Burch (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michael Horsting (email@example.com) directly with any questions.