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October 2010 Blog posts

Separation anxiety, Part 1

Within the last few weeks the national media has taken a pointed interested in the concept of hydrological separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins—National Public Radio, the New York Times, and the New Yorker have all done detailed stories. This shift is a welcome change. It's been about a year since the nefarious Asian carp burst into the public eye, and in that time public discourse has gone from jokes about crazy flying fish to a nuanced understanding that whatever solutions we determine for interbasin invasive species movement must also account for the realities of our region's freight, recreation, wastewater, and water supply goals. After all, these fish (as well as many dozens of other potential invasive species) are swimming around in our region's sewer…

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President’s economic advisors find long-term transportation investment plan boosts the economy

Following up on his Labor Day announcement of a $50 billion transportation plan to invest in roads, rail (including high-speed rail), transit, airports, and air traffic control, last week, President Obama brought together members of his cabinet, industry leaders, governors, and mayors to discuss the economic impact of transportation investments. At the meeting the President said that his up-front $50 billion investment is connected to a six-year re-authorization of the surface transportation program, which expired last year, and the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to leverage private capital and select projects with the most economic benefit. Senior administration officials suggested the up-front $50 billion from Congress could be paid for by closing loopholes in the tax…

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MPC's pumpkin-carving skills tested at Marquette Building harvest party

Mandy Burrell Booth

MPC's entry in the Marquette Building's pumpkin party: if Ozzy Osbourne were Carp Czar.

The results have not been announced, but we think MPC's pumpkin has a good shot at winning our office building's annual pumpkin carving contest. What do you think? Here's some of our top competition: Rod Blagojevich Miss Marquette Building Lady Gaga The Mad Hatter

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MPC's Nov. 3 roundtable will explore how livable communities promote health, wellness

By Aleece Smith, MPC research assistant Thanks to the health care debate, most of us are familiar with the financial woes, social isolation, and high morbidity rates caused by poor health. We know that practicing unhealthy behaviors will likely lead us to one or more of these bleak consequences. Some of us have taken the time to think about the environmental causes of unhealthy behavior. Fewer of us have looked for ways to promote healthful lifestyles throughout our cities and regions. Join us at MPC’s upcoming Roundtable “Beyond Medicine: How Livable Communities Promote Health and Wellness,” sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, where we will examine how having access to housing, work, shopping, healthy food, and safe places within walking or biking…

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A Red Letter Week for regional, national infrastructure planning

I ride the train every day, so I’m sold. But more people need to hear what report after report has proven: Whether you commute by public transit or private vehicle, transit delivers major benefits to metropolitan Chicago. Environment Illinois is providing the latest jolt of evidence, with a new report focused on the economic and environmental benefits Metra delivers to our region. Some of the top takeaways: Per passenger, Metra emits 7.3 times less global warming pollution than sedans, 8.6 times less than SUVs, and 13.2 times less than pickup trucks. Metra saves travelers about 34.8 million gallons of gasoline every year. That’s the same amount of fuel consumed by 61,000 cars annually. Transit and rail investments have created more than twice as many jobs as road…

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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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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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