Legislation that supports balanced regional growth advances in Springfield - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Legislation that supports balanced regional growth advances in Springfield

Learn how the bills MPC supports have progressed, and take action to ensure their success

As state leaders debate how best to craft a new state budget, big-ticket items including school funding reform, pension obligations, property tax relief, and universal healthcare are dominating the headlines. However, hundreds of less high-profile bills supporting everything from bike safety to animal welfare are garnering the support necessary to become laws – including a few bills supported by the Metropolitan Planning Council. For more information on our legislative efforts to improve economic development, quality of life and economic opportunity in our region, contact MPC Vice President of External Relations Peter Skosey. To contact your legislators in support of these bills, visit MPC’s e-advocacy center.

Green Neighborhood Award Act (SB 135)

The Green Neighborhood Award Act is designed to 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.

This bill has been approved by both the House and the Senate, and is expected to be signed by Gov. Blagojevich in a matter of weeks.

Good Housing Good Schools (SB 220)

Good Housing Good Schools creates a school funding bonus for school districts in communities that approve multifamily housing developments to advance the 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.

The bill passed through the Senate on March 27, with a vote of 50 – 6 – 1, and was approved by the Executive Committee of the House on May 23. The bill is currently sponsored by Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough (D-Broadview). With the strong show of support in  the Senate, the legislation is anticipated to progress successfully through the remaining steps of the process.

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

Path to Prosperity would set aside funds for towns in need of planning assistance, 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). Through the Local Planning Fund, municipalities receive state support to create comprehensive plans necessary for achieving their community vision. Path to Prosperity would use 1 percent of the Hotel Operators Tax that was previously diverted to the General Revenue Fund to expand the Local Planning Fund, enabling Illinois to provide more municipalities with planning technical assistance.

Path to Prosperity has enjoyed strong support from both chambers: the bill was approved unanimously by the House on May 15, and was referred to Rules in the Senate on May 16. The legislation is presently sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), and is expected to continue its strong showing. Please contact Senator Harmon and express your support.

Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Act (SB 378)

Illinois needs the authority to create Public-Private Partnerships for developing 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 addresses this need, and would enable Illinois ’ transportation agencies to tap the abundant private resources currently available for these investments.

The bill remains in the Senate as details are worked out with several stakeholders. MPC remains committed to working with lawmakers and others to develop a consensus that would allow Public-Private Partnerships statewide. Please email Peter Skosey to offer your support for this effort.

Illinois Capital Investment Accountability Act (HB 801)

In order to maintain and expand our transportation network – the backbone of our economy – and capitalize on the limited pool of federal funding for transportation available through SAFETEA-LU (the 2005 federal surface transportation package), the Illinois General Assembly needs to develop a major capital package plan 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 project.

At this time, the Illinois Capital Investment Accountability Act is awaiting a second reading in the House, where it was introduced. MPC will continue to work closely with key policymakers to improve the way Illinois plans and funds major transportation investments.


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