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Chrissy Mancini Nichols


Chrissy directs the Metropolitan Planning Council's (MPC) transportation work at the federal, state and local levels. She focuses on implementing innovative financing tools such as using value capture and private sector partnership to fund transit, reducing the demand for future transportation resources by creating incentives for denser, transit-oriented developments and managing parking, and making the most of existing transportation infrastructure through congestion pricing and technology. Chrissy also is working with Congress and national partners to establish performance metrics in the federal transportation authorization that include economic development and local involvement.  She staffed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Transportation and Infrastructure transition committee and is working with the Midway Advisory Panel that is evaluating a potential public-private partnership at Midway Airport, the first such deal in the nation.  Chrissy also serves on the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Technical Advisory Group on the Fiscal and Economic Impacts of Development Decisions.

Prior to joining MPC, Chrissy was the associate executive director of a Chicago-based fiscal policy think tank, where she worked on tax, budget and education funding policies, including drafting legislation to reform Illinois’ education and tax systems and modeling its impacts. She also served as a management analyst at the U.S. Dept. of Education, and was a seventh-grade teacher in Washington, DC. Chrissy was awarded the Northwestern University Graduate School’s Distinguished Thesis Award for The Implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in Illinois, which analyzed each component of NCLB compared with state and federal fiscal policies to find how tax policy affects the implementation of the law at the local level.

Chrissy is a member of the American Economic Association and the American Evaluation Association. She lives in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood.


How Illinois can lower its sales tax rate & raise funding for transit
The State of Illinois’ 6.25 percent sales tax is among the highest levied by any state. With local sales taxes factored in, Chicago tops the list of large cities’ combined sales tax rates, an ignominious ranking that it shares with Los Angeles. But Illinois could lower its sales tax…
How to finance municipal infrastructure with private investment
The Chicago region’s 284 municipalities are never short on capital projects, but what about the money to make them happen? Ever-tightening budgets have forced them to identify new strategies and financing tools to supplement traditional funding sources to implement projects. One such…
A guide to pension reform in Illinois
On Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, Governor Quinn signed into law historic pension reform legislation. Senate Bill 1 (SB1) allows the state to take a significant step toward fiscal stability, evident in the immediate positive comments from rating agencies. These reforms could improve Illinois’ bleak…
Talking Transit: President’s proposed budget would boost transit; states not waiting on Washington
Published monthly, MPC’s Talking Transit provides updates about transit-related activities around the world. Get In the Loop on all the latest local, national and international transit headlines. >> Did You Know? So far in 2013, three governors – in both red and blue states…
MAP-21 changes how the U.S. invests in transportation by requiring performance measures
For the first time ever, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the current federal transportation authorization, requires the establishment of national goals and performance measures in planning for transportation investments. It’s the first step toward creating a truly…

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Photo of Chrissy Mancini Nichols


Chrissy Mancini Nichols Director of Research and Evaluation
312 863 6042

Areas of expertise

  • Tax policy
  • Transportation policy
  • Innovative finance for infrastructure
  • Federal, state and local government spending and revenue


M.P.P.A., Public Policy, Northwestern University
B.S., Education and Political Science, Youngstown State University

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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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