MPC supports bills to advance balanced regional growth - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC supports bills to advance balanced regional growth

Learn more about the bills MPC supports and take action

It’s springtime and Springfield is abuzz, as the Illinois General Assembly kicks into high gear. A few big-ticket items, including utilities regulation, universal healthcare, pension obligations, and school funding reform, have dominated the headlines, even as hundreds of other bills make their way out of committee to their respective floors. The Metropolitan Planning Council is supporting five bills this session, all of which would advance our mission of improving quality of life, equity of opportunity, and economic development in metropolitanChicago. For more information, contact  Peter Skosey, MPC vice president of external relations. To contact your legislators in support of these bills, visit MPC's e-advocacy center.

Green Neighborhood Award Act (SB 135)

The future is here. Illinois is on the threshold of creating a new national model for supporting whole neighborhoods that save energy, reduce pollution and road congestion, and raise the bar on community livability standards. The Green Neighborhood Award Act would allow the Ill. Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to issue grants to developments that are consistent with the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, Congress for the New Urbanism, and Natural Resources Defense Council. LEED-ND certification guarantees neighborhoods adhere to the core principles of sensible growth: a range of housing types near jobs and services, walkable and bike-friendly communities, access to open space and transit, appreciating property values and economic viability for a markedly improved quality of life.

  • LEED-ND supports economic development. Developers benefit from building “green” neighborhoods and would receive state funding.
  • LEED-ND is economical. Illinois families save big through energy-efficient construction, expanded housing choice, and convenient, accessible communities.
  • LEED-ND is clean. The environment is protected from status-quo development that eats up green space and burdens natural resources.

Good Housing Good Schools (SB 220)

As municipal leaders and housing developers work to renovate or build affordable and workforce housing, it is essential to look beyond bricks and mortar: quality schools and quality housing go hand-in-hand. Good Housing Good Schools would create a school funding bonus for school districts in communities that approve multifamily housing developments to advance the housing goals of Illinois ’ Comprehensive Housing Plan. The annual amount of the school funding bonus for eligible developments would be $1,120 for each two-bedroom unit, with $560 awarded for each additional bedroom. Based on this formula, the state's annual estimated cost for the bonus is less than $5 million per year.

Path to Prosperity: 1 Percent for Planning (HB 2473)

Much like an entrepreneur uses a business plan to chart success, local municipalities benefit from a comprehensive plan that outlines strategies to achieve both short- and long-term goals. The problem is that the towns most in need of planning often don’t have the resources to develop a comprehensive plan. Path to Prosperity offers a viable solution to this dilemma. By providing a revenue source for the Local Planning Fund (created by the Illinois General Assembly through the Local Planning Technical Assistance Act in 2002, but as-yet unfunded) municipalities could apply to the state for grants to conduct comprehensive plans. Path to Prosperity would use 1 percent of the Hotel Operators Tax that waspreviously diverted to the General Revenue Fund to expand the Local Planning Fund, enabling Illinois to provide more municipalities with planning technical assistance.

Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Act (SB 378)

As statewide growth pressures increase demand for new transportation investments, Illinois’ fiscal well is running dry – and with it, the ability to support new, carefully planned projects. To preserve the Chicago-area’s competitiveness by maintaining and expanding its roads, rails and airways, Public-Private Partnerships would provide an alternative funding stream that could free up limited resources for other priorities. Public-Private Partnerships could help deliver quality multi-modal transportation infrastructure statewide, while minimizing the state’s need to raise additional public revenue or take on hefty new debt. Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Act would give the state the authority to create such partnerships and enable Illinois ’ transportation agencies to tap the abundant private resources currently available for these investments.

Illinois Capital Investment Accountability Act (HB 801)

Since 2004, Illinois has been operating without a state capital investment program, and our ability to compete with other states vying for limited federal dollars from SAFETEA-LU (the 2005 federal surface transportation package) is in jeopardy. However, to maximize the state’s investments, it is essential the Illinois General Assembly develop a major capital package that:

  • uses an accountable and transparent planning process;
  • invests in transit, roads and freight;
  •   is supported with dedicated revenue; and
  • emphasizes innovation, strengthening the tie between land use and transportation decisions.

The Illinois Capital Investment Accountability Act addresses several of these points by requiring the establishment of statewide criteria and processes for reviewing, prioritizing and selecting surface transportation projects.

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