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Good policy doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact, it can lead to cost savings – and MPC’s 2010 Springfield legislative agenda is proof. This session, MPC is advocating for several bills that would improve state policies related to water supply planning, pedestrian safety, transportation funding, tax credits for affordable housing, regional planning and public transportation. These bills cost little to nothing to implement, and all of them would realize long-term economic benefits by advancing the following policy objectives:
- Goal-Driven: Investment should be based on desired policy outcomes, not specific means or pet projects. The best investment — whether for a roadway or railway, water treatment plant or wetland — should be determined and funded according to the project’s quantifiable benefits when compared with other spending proposals. By taking a goal-driven approach, progress is measurable and governments are held accountable.
- Right-Sized: Traditionally, most federal money has gone to states and then individual municipalities, creating costly local competition for resources that does not reflect the regional and interjurisdictional nature of our most pressing concerns. Solutions should be planned and implemented at the scale of the problem. Federal and state investments programs should encourage this, while providing flexibility to scale investment up or down as necessary.
- Coordinated: More often than not, cities and regions face complex problems that cut across multiple issues; one program or agency — and in some cases, the public sector — cannot solve these dilemmas alone. Working together, and with the private sector, multiple agencies and departments can develop and leverage funding for joint solutions, minimize conflicting goals and wasteful spending, and contribute to more sustainable development.
To keep track of each bill’s progress, select the bill name to be directed to the Illinois General Assembly web site.
Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation (SB 3482)
Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago)
Currently, the state of Illinois does not have enabling legislation for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). This bill authorizes the Toll Highway Authority and Ill. Dept. of Transportation to use PPPs for the creation of new infrastructure (MPC’s preference), or the privatization of existing assets. PPPs can provide cost savings, shorten project delivery times, minimize risk to government, and gain the benefit of private enterprise for infrastructure development. By allowing PPPs in Illinois, existing revenue streams could be freed for other purposes. MPC believes PPPs offer a good opportunity to implement other demand management practices as well to encourage greater efficiency and maximize use. SB 3482 fact sheet >>
Rainwater Harvesting (SB 2549)
Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood)
There are no minimum standards in the State Plumbing Code for the capture of rainwater on site and re-use for non-potable purposes. As a result, local health boards have minimal ability to assure their communities that use of this technology is safe. SB 2549 would reverse that, and require the Dept. of Public Health to establish minimum standards. Being able to utilize stormwater to flush toilets would reduce the need for costly infrastructure investments by reducing stormwater runoff, easing strain on wastewater systems, and lessening the amount of treated drinking water being used for non-potable purposes. SB 2549 fact sheet >>
Renewal of Affordable Housing Tax Credit (HB 6038)
Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago)
Illinois’ Affordable Housing Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of 2011. This credit supplies crucial support for employer assisted housing programs across the state. Currently the state allocates $2 million per year for EAH, leveraging up to $4 million in private investment. MPC would like to renew the tax credit for another five year term to expire in 2016. HB 6038 fact sheet >>
Pedestrian Safety Bill (HB 43)
Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago)
Legislation in Illinois currently requires cars to yield, but not stop, for pedestrians in crosswalks. This ambiguous law contributes to thousands of pedestrian injuries and fatalities every year. The Pedestrian Safety Bill clarifies the responsibilities of drivers and pedestrians by amending the Illinois Vehicle Code to require cars to stop when approaching pedestrians in crosswalks. MPC believes that safe streets are essential for a healthy, vibrant region. Streets that are safe for pedestrians bring out shoppers, provide places for neighbors to interact, and increase quality of life for residents. HB 43 fact sheet >>
Comprehensive Regional Planning Fund (Budget Appropriation)
Public Act 95-0677 created the Comprehensive Regional Planning Fund in 2007. This fund is essential for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to carry out its core, legislatively mandated planning functions for the region, which include water, housing, transportation, and other land use. MPC supports a $5 million recurring allocation to this fund. Comprehensive Regional Planning Fund fact sheet >>
Transportation Investment Accountability Act (HB 4768)
Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines)
Working with regional MPOs throughout Illinois, the Ill. Dept. of Transportation would establish quantifiable goals and objectives for Illinois transportation spending. MPC believes the state should be investing its limited transportation capital dollars better, by considering their impact on the environment, economy, jobs/housing connection, and other factors not traditionally considered in programming. This approach is consistent with the U.S. DOT approach to implementing the Livability Principles. MPC will be educating the general assembly on this issue this year through subject matter hearings. HB 4768 fact sheet >>