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August 2011 Blog posts

Banner month for transportation in Chicago

August has been a banner month for MPC’s transportation program and the region’s transportation network: On Aug. 25, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority Board (Tollway) approved not only a 35-cent toll increase to support its comprehensive capital plan – which will create more than 120,000 permanent jobs and give the state’s economy a badly needed $21 billion shot in the arm – but also a resolution calling for implementing congestion pricing on Illinois toll roads. On Aug. 22, Gov. Pat Quinn signed HB 1091, a bill MPC has been pushing for five years that enables the Illinois Dept. of Transportation and the Tollway to use public-private partnerships to finance new…

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New assistance available for Illinois homeowners at risk of foreclosure

Homeowners at risk of foreclosure have a new resource to tap: The Illinois Hardest Hit program offers mortgage payment assistance to borrowers who have experienced an unemployment or underemployment event due to no fault of their own. The program aims to reduce the number of foreclosures caused specifically by a substantial loss of income. The assistance allows eligible households to maintain ownership of their home while they work to regain employment and financial stability. The Illinois Hardest Hit Program offers two types of assistance: Reinstatement assistance to pay mortgage arrearages, fees, and penalties in full, and Monthly mortgage payment assistance to pay the mortgage payment for homeowners struggling to make their monthly payment. Employers can help get the word out…

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Three new laws will protect Illinois' water

MPC research assistant Emily Miller contributed to this post, which was originally published as part of MPC and Openlands' What Our Water's Worth campaign. Go to for more timely stories and to sign up for our monthly newsletter. On August 24, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed three bills to protect Illinois’ water. “Pure and plentiful drinking water is every Illinois citizen’s right,” Governor Quinn said. “These bills will help Illinois conserve water, protect the safety of our drinking water supplies and ensure that unused medications are disposed of properly.” House Bill 248, sponsored by Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) and Sen. Susan Garret (D-Lake Forest) and effective immediately, allows the North Shore…

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Your BRT questions, our BRT answers

Between our Aug. 17th roundtable, our Aug. 18th webinar, and several e-mails and phone calls, we've received may good questions about Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago's New Route to Opportunity, our vision for a 10-route Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network in Chicago that is feasible, best supports existing neighborhood assets, and fills accessibility gaps in the current transit network. Here's an assortment of them, with our answers, in no particular order. Annie Weinstock, US BRT program director at ITDP, contributed to these answers. Q: Given that trips to work represents 60% of all transit trips, why did you weigh all trip generators equally? A: While we did have only one criterion that was specifically about employment, we also felt confident that work trips were being captured in a…

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Conserving water in the desert

Photo courtesy Earthwise Environmental

Earthwise Environmental worked with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to significantly improve its water treatment and management.

When starting Earthwise Environmental, my goal was to work with clients who wanted to make their facilities’ water treatment greener, cleaner and safer, while reducing their use of water, chemicals and energy. We’ve had some great journeys and accomplishments, and one of our more interesting missions was to improve water use in a desert. Phoenix (PHX) Sky Harbor International Airport came to Earthwise Environmental facing a five-percent water reduction mandate and asked us to take a look at a way to reuse their water for irrigation purposes. It was interesting to take a birds-eye view of this project and brainstorm on a wide range of solutions, but the deeper we dove into the situation, the more we realized, this number was just a tip of the iceberg in terms of what we could…

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