2022 State Policy Change Agenda
The independent Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) works with governments, businesses, and advocacy groups to promote racially equitable and environmentally sustainable planning and policy solutions. We seek to promote a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone.
Amidst ongoing turbulence, uncertainty, and reasons for hope in 2021, Illinois and the country made substantial progress on longstanding structural barriers to wealth building. At the same time, the federal government committed billions of dollars to Illinois infrastructure through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with another major federal investment bill on the horizon.
2022 will be a critical year for making good on the promises embedded in these decisive actions and investments. In 2022, MPC is fighting to make sure that federal resources are distributed equitably and transparently, and that the State of Illinois invests as much in the people of Illinois as its bridges, pipes, and schools.
We support policies, programs, and budgets that lead to just, sustainable, equitable outcomes for all residents.
Ensure transparent, equitable infrastructure investment in Illinois
In 2021, as Members of Congress debated trillions of dollars in increased infrastructure investment, Illinois passed two pieces of landmark legislation to ground equity in infrastructure decisions: HB253 (Buckner; Villivalam) requires the Department of Transportation to adopt transparent and equitable criteria for transportation investment. HB3739 (Robinson; Bush) requires the replacement of every lead service line in Illinois.
It is critical that Illinois capitalizes on the opportunity presented by the confluence of these events. The state needs to ensure that federal funding is distributed transparently and equitably to live up to the commitments of these bold, transformative laws.
Make Performance Based Planning count.
Improve data-driven decision-making criteria and methods so they apply to integrated multimodal investments, prioritize reduced climate impacts, embed equity, and increase engagement. IDOT’s initial rollout of the performance-based planning tool (required by HB 253 passed in 2021) takes some important steps toward increased transparency in transportation investments. We will work to refine the criteria to ensure the methods used will effectively direct billions of Rebuild Illinois and federal transportation dollars to fund projects that will achieve the transportation, environmental, and equity outcomes Illinois residents want and need.
Ensure all Illinoisans have the resources to replace their lead service lines.
Dedicate an additional $300 million to lead service line replacement, with $60 million prioritized to directly protect children. Illinois’ lead service line replacement funding needs will far outpace dedicated federal support – likely by billions of dollars. To help close that gap and give communities a head start in replacing their lead service lines, MPC supports the State of Illinois dedicating $300 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for this urgent public health threat. $240 million should be made available for planning, technical assistance, and initial replacements in low-income communities; $60 million should be dedicated to replacing lead service lines in childcare facilities.
Create transparent and equitable criteria to ensure lead service line replacement funding is invested in low-income, low-capacity communities – especially communities of color. Many low-capacity water utilities with limited staff struggle to access the State Revolving Fund programs, where nearly $1 billion in federal lead service line replacement funding will likely be directed. It is imperative that federal funding is distributed based on transparent, equity-based criteria that guarantee assistance for these priority communities. We cannot afford to leave Illinois’ most vulnerable communities behind.
Ensure all other federal water infrastructure investments flow equitably.
Make the State Revolving Fund work for every community. The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will dedicate $1.7 billion in investment to Illinois’ drinking water, stormwater, and sewer systems through the State Revolving Fund programs. There is some evidence that communities with higher percentages of Black and Latinx residents receive fewer benefits from these programs. MPC is working with stakeholders and State agencies to ensure low-income Black and Latinx communities get their fair share of this funding source.
Make federal money go further by rewarding collaboration among local units of government.
Dedicate additional funding to municipalities that think and work regionally. For many of Illinois’ smaller municipalities, the American Rescue Plan Act provided a welcome but modest pot of funding to address both short-term and long-term needs. By pooling their resources together, communities may realize economies of scale and other benefits that enable them to collectively tackle regionally significant investment needs more effectively than they could address on their own. To incentivize this behavior and amplify its effect, the State should dedicate matching funds to communities that collaborate on regionally significant projects.
Invest equitably in the people of Illinois
MPC’s Cost of Segregation study documented the economic toll of racial segregation, which exacts an $8 billion annual toll on metropolitan Chicago’s economy. Addressing that toll is going to require sustained investment in Illinois’ people, not just its physical infrastructure, to ensure we all have the resources we need to thrive and grow.
Help low-income Illinoisans build wealth and economic resilience.
Modernize the Earned Income Tax Credit. Too many Illinois families work hard but can’t get ahead. MPC supports modernizing and expanding the state earned income tax credit to put more money in the pockets of working families. Needed improvements include increasing the amount of funding available to working families and ensuring both young and elderly working adults get access to this benefit.
Connect marginalized Illinoisans with water infrastructure jobs.
Build an equitable lead service line replacement workforce. Replacing lead service lines will invest billions of dollars into Illinois over several decades. It is imperative that people of color – who are up to twice as likely as white Illinoisans to be living in the Illinois communities containing nearly all of this toxic water infrastructure – benefit from this economic activity. Doing so will take dedicated and sustained outreach and oversight.
Additionally, MPC will continue to support legislation, funding, and programming that:
Expand affordable housing supply through preservation strategies and new production.
Protect vulnerable residents—especially those leaving the justice system—so that they can access and remain in stable housing.
Fairly fund all modes of active and equitable transportation options.
Increase the safety of our roads, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Protect the health of all Illinois residents by planning for, funding, and ensuring access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Create jobs and build wealth for low-income Illinoisans.
Support local governments in meeting their highest potential through shared services, modernized technical systems, and dedicated state support.