Municipalities, counties, townships, councils of government (COGs), municipal associations, groups of two or more municipalities located within CMAP’s seven-county region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties) and the RTA Service Boards (CTA, Metra, Pace) are eligible to apply for assistance. Nongovernmental organizations in the region are eligible to apply for CMAP assistance but must have the support of the local government in which their project will take place. Nongovernmental organizations in the region must partner with a governmental organization to be eligible to apply for RTA assistance.
The CMAP and RTA planning assistance programs encourage applicants to undertake a balanced, coordinated, and integrated approach to land use and transportation planning benefiting local communities. Applicants are encouraged to study the ON TO 2050 priorities as well as the RTA’s Invest in Transit goals when drafting an application to ensure that the proposed project addresses our region’s planning priorities.
Both agencies have common priorities, including projects which:
- Support development of compact, walkable communities
- Match regional and local housing supply with the diversity of housing that serves the needs of the community
- Advocate for and develop policies that strengthen communities
- Incorporate market and fiscal feasibility into planning and development processes
- Encourage multijurisdictional partnerships and study areas
- Strengthen and make transit more competitive
- Target disinvested and economically disconnected areas (see links for maps and definitions)
- Leverage the transportation network to promote inclusive growth
The RTA also has additional criteria that is unique to their program:
Eligible transit-related planning and implementation projects are typically evaluated for consideration under the RTA’s Community Planning program. Transit/TOD projects must be located on the existing transit system.
Transit service planning is only available to the Service Boards (Metra, Pace, CTA). Municipalities interested in transit service planning should request a partnership with the appropriate Service Board(s) to apply for assistance.
Applicants with transit-related projects are required 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. The Service Boards may respond with any concerns or comments related to the proposed project. Service Board coordination must begin by October 1 with email requests to:
Typical projects for both programs include:
- Bicycle and pedestrian
- GIS/data assistance
- Innovative planning projects
- Land Use and Transportation (including comprehensive, economic development, downtown, neighborhood, subarea, site-specific, transit, and corridor)
- Local Road Safety
- Parking management and pricing
- Planning assessments or studies on special topics (including water-related and housing)
- Planning priorities reports
- Transit-Oriented Development
- Sustainability, climate action, or climate resilience
- Developer discussion panels (subareas, TOD areas, corridors, downtown areas, etc.)
- Innovative implementation projects on special topics covered in ON TO 2050, and/or Invest in Transit
- Site-specific plans
- Special funding districts (TIF, SSA, BID)
- Training (for elected/appointed officials, staff, and other decision makers on specific planning topics such as zoning and subdivision regulations, plan implementation, conservation design, sustainability, GIS, research and analysis)
- Zoning ordinances (municipality-wide or subarea, e.g. TOD areas), subdivision ordinances, and Unified Development Ordinances)
Please see the eligible project descriptions here. Funds available through these programs are for planning purposes only. Capital, engineering, operating, land acquisition, or equipment costs are not eligible. Selection of projects is dependent on funding availability, particularly for projects that do not have a direct transportation or land use connection.