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PART: Plan of Action for Regional Transit

Plan of Action for Regional Transit

Plan of Action for Regional Transit

Transit agencies in northeastern Illinois are heading toward a fiscal cliff coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic — with an expected budget shortfall of $730 million in 2026 — as emergency federal assistance is expiring and ridership remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Big, bold solutions are needed to secure the financial viability of our region’s transit system. Through all the changes the system has experienced, one central fact remains true: A successful transit system is critical to the success of the region, its economy, health, and environment.

To address these changes, a diverse group of leaders from across northeastern Illinois are developing a Plan of Action for Regional Transit (PART) with recommendations that can help the region invest in a stronger and more financially secure transit system.

Overview

This plan will include meaningful public engagement through the lens of racial equity, climate change, and economic development.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is convening representatives from the business, community, environmental, labor, and civic sectors to develop and submit this plan to the governor and General Assembly on or before January 1, 2024.

The General Assembly approved Public Act 102-1028, tasking CMAP with developing legislative recommendations on the region's transit system. The action plan will leverage findings and input from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and its 2023 Transit is the Answer strategic plan, as well as CMAP’s Mobility Recovery project.

Public engagement

The development of the report will include meaningful public engagement led by CMAP with the support of a steering committee. CMAP also will facilitate public discussions that can help shape the final set of recommendations to address the complex challenges facing northeastern Illinois’ transit systems.

The steering committee represents stakeholders from private and civic sectors to help support the development of the report and ultimately champion the report’s recommendations. The committee is set to meet throughout 2023.

All PART steering committee meeting agendas are available below.

What PART will address

Dollar sign in shield

Financial viability and funding

The structure that funds our transit system does not match today's needs. Funds are distributed based on formulas set in statute more than 40 years ago. And state law requires the transit system use fares to cover half of operating costs. Keeping that requirement would lead to damaging service cuts in today's post-pandemic region.

Happy and sad faces

Rider experience

Transit is fundamentally about people. The system can and should continue to better serve the people who rely on it every day, with investments in safe, secure, frequent, reliable, and affordable service throughout the region.

People

Governance

Long term, sustainable solutions will require coordination across the entire regional system, including discussions about implementing these solutions within a system that has three overlapping transit providers — Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace.

Houses

Community and economic development

Policies and programs that promote equitable development near transit can help close socioeconomic gaps and enhance community development and recovery (e.g., incentivizing transit-supportive land use within the context of existing transit centers).

News releases

PART will identify recommendations that can help the region invest in a stronger and more financially secure transit system. Read the full news release announcing the PART project.

Project timeline

January-July, 2023: Launch steering committee. Discuss and develop recommendations. July-September: Refine and finalize recommendations. Engage with stakeholders and partners. October-December: CMAP Board and MPO Policy Committee consider report approval. January 1, 2024: Submit report to Illinois General Assembly and Governor's Office.

Steering committee members

MarySue Barrett MSB Policy Consulting/Brookings Institution
Randy Blankenhorn Former Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation
Carole Brown PNC
Deborah Carroll University of Illinois Chicago, Government Finance Research Center
Kevin Considine Lake County Partners
Dan Cronin Former Chairman, DuPage County Board
Mark Denzler Illinois Manufacturers' Association
Derek Douglas Civic Committee and Commercial Club of Chicago
Jacky Grimshaw Center for Neighborhood Technology
Julie Hamos Office of Medicaid Innovation
Darlene Hightower Metropolitan Planning Council
Rob Karr Illinois Retail Merchants Association
Jack Lavin Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
David Leopold Microsoft
Juan Carlos Linares Association House of Chicago
Tom Livingston CSX
Justin Marlowe University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy
Laurence Msall The Civic Federation
David Narefsky Mayer Brown
Jorge Perez Lake Effect Community Development
Doug Pryor Will County Center for Economic Development
Bob Reiter Chicago Federation of Labor
Roberto Requejo Elevated Chicago
Amy Rynell Active Transportation Alliance
Stephen Schlickman University of Illinois Chicago, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
Karen Tamley Access Living
Jen Walling Illinois Environmental Council

Contact

Laura Wilkison, CMAP senior director and policy advisor, at lwilkison@cmap.illinois.gov.

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Plan of Action for Regional Transit

Transit agencies in northeastern Illinois are heading toward a fiscal cliff coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic — with an expected budget shortfall of $730 million in 2026 — as emergency federal assistance is expiring and ridership remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Big, bold solutions are needed to secure the financial viability of our region’s transit system. Through all the changes the system has experienced, one central fact remains true: A successful transit system is critical to the success of the region, its economy, health, and environment.

To address these changes, a diverse group of leaders from across northeastern Illinois are developing a Plan of Action for Regional Transit (PART) with recommendations that can help the region invest in a stronger and more financially secure transit system.

Overview

This plan will include meaningful public engagement through the lens of racial equity, climate change, and economic development.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is convening representatives from the business, community, environmental, labor, and civic sectors to develop and submit this plan to the governor and General Assembly on or before January 1, 2024.

The General Assembly approved Public Act 102-1028, tasking CMAP with developing legislative recommendations on the region's transit system. The action plan will leverage findings and input from the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and its 2023 Transit is the Answer strategic plan, as well as CMAP’s Mobility Recovery project.

Public engagement

The development of the report will include meaningful public engagement led by CMAP with the support of a steering committee. CMAP also will facilitate public discussions that can help shape the final set of recommendations to address the complex challenges facing northeastern Illinois’ transit systems.

The steering committee represents stakeholders from private and civic sectors to help support the development of the report and ultimately champion the report’s recommendations. The committee is set to meet throughout 2023.

All PART steering committee meeting agendas are available below.

What PART will address

Dollar sign in shield

Financial viability and funding

The structure that funds our transit system does not match today's needs. Funds are distributed based on formulas set in statute more than 40 years ago. And state law requires the transit system use fares to cover half of operating costs. Keeping that requirement would lead to damaging service cuts in today's post-pandemic region.

Happy and sad faces

Rider experience

Transit is fundamentally about people. The system can and should continue to better serve the people who rely on it every day, with investments in safe, secure, frequent, reliable, and affordable service throughout the region.

People

Governance

Long term, sustainable solutions will require coordination across the entire regional system, including discussions about implementing these solutions within a system that has three overlapping transit providers — Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace.

Houses

Community and economic development

Policies and programs that promote equitable development near transit can help close socioeconomic gaps and enhance community development and recovery (e.g., incentivizing transit-supportive land use within the context of existing transit centers).

News releases

PART will identify recommendations that can help the region invest in a stronger and more financially secure transit system. Read the full news release announcing the PART project.

Project timeline

January-July, 2023: Launch steering committee. Discuss and develop recommendations. July-September: Refine and finalize recommendations. Engage with stakeholders and partners. October-December: CMAP Board and MPO Policy Committee consider report approval. January 1, 2024: Submit report to Illinois General Assembly and Governor's Office.

Steering committee members

MarySue Barrett MSB Policy Consulting/Brookings Institution
Randy Blankenhorn Former Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation
Carole Brown PNC
Deborah Carroll University of Illinois Chicago, Government Finance Research Center
Kevin Considine Lake County Partners
Dan Cronin Former Chairman, DuPage County Board
Mark Denzler Illinois Manufacturers' Association
Derek Douglas Civic Committee and Commercial Club of Chicago
Jacky Grimshaw Center for Neighborhood Technology
Julie Hamos Office of Medicaid Innovation
Darlene Hightower Metropolitan Planning Council
Rob Karr Illinois Retail Merchants Association
Jack Lavin Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
David Leopold Microsoft
Juan Carlos Linares Association House of Chicago
Tom Livingston CSX
Justin Marlowe University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy
Laurence Msall The Civic Federation
David Narefsky Mayer Brown
Jorge Perez Lake Effect Community Development
Doug Pryor Will County Center for Economic Development
Bob Reiter Chicago Federation of Labor
Roberto Requejo Elevated Chicago
Amy Rynell Active Transportation Alliance
Stephen Schlickman University of Illinois Chicago, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
Karen Tamley Access Living
Jen Walling Illinois Environmental Council

Contact

Laura Wilkison, CMAP senior director and policy advisor, at lwilkison@cmap.illinois.gov.

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PART: Plan of Action for Regional Transit

PART fact sheet