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January 2010 Blog posts

Updated: Buzz on high-speed rail grant announcement

High Speed Rail in Taiwan

Obama will be in Tampa, Fla. tomorrow to announce high speed rail grants to 31 states for projects on 13 major corridors. Illinois submitted an application – with the support of 7 other states in the Midwest – supporting a high-speed rail corridor from Chicago to St. Louis. Stay tuned for more details! UPDATE JAN. 28: The Midwest Region was awarded almost $2.6 billion for four major corridors: Chicago-St. Louis-Kansas City, Minneapolis-Milwaukee-Chicago, Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati, and Detroit-Chicago. Learn more about the region’s plans for this funding and MPC’s work to ensure these investments simultaneously spark new economic development and community revitalization around proposed stations.

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MPC in D.C.: Reforming water infrastructure funding

Illinois American Water

The Clean Water and Drinking Water revolving funds are up for reauthorization by Congress, which gives us a chance to reform how they work. Through these loans, the federal government provides funding to states, which match the funds and then award low-interest loans to municipal water providers for projects that ensure compliance with federal water quality requirements. Lots of municipal governments rely on these loan funds to provide the necessary capital for new projects, and so the loan requirements drive a lot of decision making. The Water Infrastructure Financing Act of 2009, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last May, but has yet to move beyond that. That means there is still chance to ensure that the funding…

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A look at the past, an eye toward the future

MPC has long been an advocate of environmental sustainability, from sensible land use that preserves open space, to clusters of housing and retail near transit, to protecting regional water supplies. Now, with our new office space, we also can practice what we preach. In February, 2009, MPC relocated to the landmarked Marquette Building, at 140 S. Dearborn St. MPC is proud to announce its office located earned the designation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold for Commercial Interiors. Read more about MPC's LEED Gold office space >> Moving into our open, creative workspace coincides with a milestone: our 75th anniversary on March 12, 2009. I have been president of MPC for more than 13 years, and I am extremely proud of our significant policy success…

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MPC in D.C.: Supporting livable communities

February is shaping up to be a critical month for the Livable Communities Act: U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) is expected to introduce the bill in the House, while the Banking Committee in the Senate – where the bill originally was introduced by U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) – will review the bill. Why does this bill matter to MPC – and you? There are many reasons, including that the bill could help support more employer-assisted housing (EAH) programs in metropolitan Chicago and nationwide. EAH is a public-private partnership proven to help people live near their jobs and public transportation, and reduce their top two household expenses, housing and transportation. In Illinois, public investment of $2.5 million has leveraged more than $8 million from…

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MPC in Springfield: A new approach to public-private partnerships

When the city of Chicago inked a deal privatizing the parking meters for the next 75 years, the public was outraged – not just over a confusing new pay system and incremental fee increases, but by the process that led to the deal and subsequent use of funds. While this incident continues to rankle Chicagoans, it’s important to recognize that cities and states around the world have been using public-private partnerships (PPPs) effectively to generate considerable new investment in their transportation infrastructure. It’s possible to do the same in Illinois – where capital reserves are severely depleted and transit and road systems badly in need of repair – if we develop standards for PPPs, including a transparent process and a promise to invest funds back…

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The Connector is MPC's blog, written primarily by MPC staff members, with occasional guest posts from volunteers and partners. 

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Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
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For 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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