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November 2011 Blog posts

Plugging a hole in Illinois' water budgetary bucket

Yesterday afternoon the Ill. General Assembly fixed a glaring omission in the State's budget by passing two related bills — Senate Bill 1311 and Senate Bill 2412— that (among other things) restored funding for the Ill. State Geological Survey and Ill. State Water Survey, which are both housed in the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute. This is good news and averts what would have been a truly unfortunate mistake. The $15.8 million allocated to the University to fund the Institute allows it to leverage external funds from a variety of other federal, state, and local resources. Without that State support, the Institute's ability to manage those external funds and complete contracted research becomes essentially impossible. In FY2011, the $15.8 in General…

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All Systems Go: Engineering Sustainable Utility Solutions

J. Tyler Anthony of ComEd, William Morrow of People's Gas, and Karla Olson Teasley of Illinois American Water take questions from the audience.

The complete audio recording of this event is available for listening. Last week MPC hosted the third event in its infrastructure roundtable series, All Systems Go: Engineering Sustainable Utility Solutions, generously sponsored by ComEd and Peoples Gas. The event featured a top-notch panel: J. Tyler Anthony, Senior Vice President of Distribution Operations for ComEd, William Morrow, Vice President of Gas Engineering for Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (People's Gas), and MPC Resource Board member Karla Olson Teasley, President of Illinois American Water. Given the level of expertise on the panel, I was not surprised that the presentations were informative and interesting. What was unexpected was the candid passion with which each of them presented their cases. It was an honor for me to…

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West Cook County Housing Collaborative receives $3 million HUD grant

Kudos to IFF and the municipal leaders of Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park for earning a 2011 Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) Challenge Grant from the U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Fresh off the heels of the Federal Reserve Bank's release of a very special edition of ProfitWise, featuring profiles of four municipal housing collaboratives piloting interjurisdictional solutions in metropolitan Chicago — and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pledge at the Nov. 7 Mayors and Developers forum to support such “intermediary efforts” — HUD announced the 2011 SCI awards, and, drum roll, please ... The West Cook County Housing Collaborative received a nearly $3 million grant for its transit-oriented…

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Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative hires housing coordinator

Communities across the Chicago region – and local philanthropies – are endorsing interjurisdictional collaboration as a creative, efficient and effective way to address issues that cut across municipal borders, such as the foreclosure crisis. In the latest example of Chicago suburbs working together, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Rolling Meadows – known collectively as the Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative – hired a housing coordinator, thanks to funding from The Chicago Community Trust. This month, Mary Lu Seidel began working with all five towns as well as with local financial institutions and community leaders to identify strategies to recover from and prevent foreclosures and preserve rental homes and…

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Pace, IDOT, RTA begin Bus on Shoulder pilot project

Photo courtesy of Pace

This Pace bus began riding on the shoulder of I-55 Nov. 14. The Bus on Shoulders pilot project will run for two years.

The timing is remarkable. Only weeks after the Texas Transportation Institute named Chicagoland the second-most congested region in the country, Pace, Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) have launched a pilot project that may be one of the most viable alternatives to driving to be implemented in a long time. Effective Nov. 14, Pace Express Routes 755 and 855—which operate between free Park-n-Ride lots in the southwest suburbs and the Illinois Medical District, Loop and North Michigan Avenue in Chicago—began operating on designated portions of the shoulder on I-55, the Stevenson Expressway. State legislation that established the pilot Bus on Shoulders project by amending the state vehicle code was signed by Gov. Patrick Quinn in…

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