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February 2012 Blog posts

Illinois Jobs Now! state capital program: We have no money, how do we pay for it?

Photo via Flickr user The Local People Photo Archive

The problem Three years into the Illinois Jobs Now! state capital program, revenues are far below projections. Revenues are so far below that the state had to transfer money from the Road Fund to make the required debt service payments on the $5.3 billion in bonds that have been issued thus far. Since no plan has materialized from state leaders to make up this funding, we want to hear your ideas. Background In 2009 Gov. Quinn signed into law the much needed Illinois Jobs Now! state capital program. The six-year, $31 billion infrastructure plan was the state’s first long-term capital program in a decade. It was expected to create 439,000 jobs and infuse much-needed capital into Illinois’ aging infrastructure. At the time, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) viewed…

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Transportation bill stalled in the House

Last night news broke that House leadership is considering a redo of its transportation legislation, H.R. 7. While the details are not yet clear, it’s likely a new proposal will authorize a shorter period and reduce overall funding but restore dedicated transit funding. Republicans from suburban districts with high public transit ridership, like Ill. Reps. Dold and Biggert, took issue with the elimination of dedicated transit funding and shifting that revenue to highways. While restoring dedicated transit funding would be a victory, there remain serious concerns with H.R. 7. It eliminates funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs, such as Safe Routes to Schools; makes Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality dollars previously reserved for transit available to less beneficial…

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New program promotes energy efficiency

Tom Decker is sales director at Smart Sealed, an insulation and weatherization company. As an Energy Impact Illinois contractor, Smart Sealed implements energy efficiency recommendations for employees who benefit from their employer’s Home Energy Renovations for Employees program. Read on to learn about this innovative new employer benefit and Smart Sealed’s critical role in helping reduce people’s home energy use and costs. We’ve all heard the tagline: Reduce, reuse, recycle. The reason “reduce” is listed first is that it is the easiest way to conserve energy, preserve natural resources, and save money on utility bills. Plus, there’s great opportunity to reduce: For both businesses and homes, energy costs are the third most expensive budgetary…

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House and Senate delay vote on transportation reauthorization; House passes ANWAR and Keystone oil and gas drilling

Due to the controversial components of the House Transportation Reauthorization, The House Rules Committee split the bill into three parts for separate votes. This maneuver allows members who don’t like one part of the bill (decimating transit funding, for example) to vote against that part and approve the other measures. The three parts are: Transportation (H.R. 7), (which includes the Ways and Means Committee bill to eliminate guaranteed funding for transit (H.R. 3864) Tax on Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline (H.R. 3408) Requiring federal workers to contribute an additional 1.5 percent of pay to their pensions (H.R. 3813) H.R. 3408, the tax on drilling, passed the House Thursday night on a vote of 237-187. The…

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How the $25 billion robosigning settlement will impact Illinois

Throughout January and February, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is curating a blog series on vacant properties in metropolitan Chicago. In the coming weeks, MPC's blog, The Connector — as well as the web sites of some of our partners — will feature posts from elected and appointed officials, policy advocates, finance experts, and others about the many ways we are all working together to get a handle on this growing regional and national housing and community development challenge. The opinions expressed in these posts do not necessarily reflect MPC's opinion. Follow the blog series at This post originally appeared on the RHOPI web site. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder…

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