Capital Investments in Illinois

We have promoted a sizeable capital program that would be supported by new revenue sources and make balanced investments in mass transit, roads and freight. We have actively opposed efforts to enact a program that falls short of those principles. Our initiative builds on our leadership of the Illinois FIRST capital program and our 2002 Metropolis Plan analyzing development trends under different scenarios.

CM 2020 staff scheduled to testify before hearings on State Capital Program

The Revenue & Finance Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives chaired by Rep. John E. Bradley (D-Marion) will be hosting a series of hearings around the State on the needs that any new State capital program should address and ways to fund such a program.

Chicago Metropolis 2020 Executive Director Frank Beal and Vice President Jim LaBelle are scheduled to testify before the committee on several dates.

For a full list of hearing dates and locations, you may click here.

Chicago Metropolis 2020 Encourages Comprehensive Approach to Capital Investment

In March 2008, Chicago Metropolis 2020 sent a letter to the members of the "Illinois Works Coalition", established by the Governor. In it, our Chairman and President encourage its members to think comprehensively about long-term State needs for capital investment, improve the capital planning process and asking its members to think about the size of a program. Click here to read the letter.

2009 Pending Legislation regarding a State Capital Program

HB 2359. The Transportation Investment Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Ryg. We strongly support this legislation which reforms the way in which we choose transportation capital investments.

The Current System for Allocating Transportation Capital is Flawed.

Illinois badly needs a capital bill to repair the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, but past experience has left the public skeptical that the money will be spent wisely. The Pew Center on the States’ recently ranked Illinois lower than 42 other states on infrastructure performance, and it’s easy to see why—current state law requires no goal setting, no performance measurement, no objective method for recommending projects for funding, and no public review of the annual transportation program before the General Assembly approves the budget. Illinois needs a better way to make transportation investment decisions, not only to reassure the taxpayers about how their money is being spent, but to give them the first-rate transportation system that they deserve.

Overview of HB2359

The Transportation Investment Accountability Act. Creates a process to ensure that state transportation investments are: Transparent, Well-planned & Measurable

1. A new Illinois Transportation Policy Committee will advise IDOT on setting transportation goals and recommending a capital spending program to the Governor and General Assembly to best achieve those goals. The Committee will include representatives of the metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), rural areas, and IDOT, plus ex-officio members to represent the Legislature and the Toll Highway Authority.

The Committee will:

Advise IDOT on preparation of the state transportation plan that will guide spending and present priorities, performance measures, and criteria for project evaluation and fund allocation.

Evaluate transportation capital programs for consistency with the state transportation plan.

Propose new revenue sources to pay for state transportation investments.

Annually evaluate and report the results of transportation capital spending decisions

2. The IDOT statute will be revised to ensure greater accountability, transparency and evaluation of projects.

IDOT will prepare the state transportation plan every five years, with involvement of the MPOs and with the advice and recommendations of the Committee.

IDOT, with the Committee’s advice, will allocate funds to all regions of the state according to criteria included in the state transportation plan.

IDOT will annually recommend a statewide transportation program to the Governor and General Assembly that is based on MPO regional capital programs and IDOT recommendations for non-urbanized areas and projects of interregional or statewide significance.

The state’s MPOs will be responsible for transportation planning in urban regions, building on the federal system that is already in place. The MPOs will plan and program funds allocated by IDOT to their regions, subject to appropriation by the Governor and General Assembly.

The General Assembly may elect to fund projects that are not included in the recommended statewide transportation program, and IDOT will be required to publicly report such funding.

HB 1 is Rep. John Bradley’s legislation to increase the motor fuel tax (MFT). We will only support this legislation if it is accompanied by reforms of the kind identified in HB 2359.

If the MFT had merely kept up with inflation since it was last increased in 1990, it would be 32 cents today, an increase of 13 cents per gallon.

A Case for Raising the Motor Fuel Tax in Illinois (pdf, 56kb)

2007 CM2020 Work on State Capital Program

Coalition of Regional Leaders Demands Increased Funding for Mass Transit, Questions Wisdom of Proposed Capital Bill

On Tuesday, October 9, 2007, Chicago Metropolis 2020 Executive Director Frank Beal gave testimony before the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee. During his testimony, Beal read a letter signed by leading business and civic organizations from across the Chicago region, imploring our elected officials to support SB 572 in Illinois General Assembly, which would provide increased funding support for Mass Transit and stave off what has become known in the media as a transit "doomsday" for the Chicago region's mass transit agencies, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and PACE.

The letter goes on to raise fundamental questions about SB 1110, which was passed by the Illinois Senate in September. SB 1110 funds a capital program for roads that fails to adequately invest in mass transit.

To download a copy of the letter, click here.

Chicago Metropolis 2020 testifies before House Mass Transit committee

On March 2, 2007, Jim LaBelle testified before the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee (Rep. Julie Hamos, Chair). Jim testified about the need for increased investments in public transit simultaneous with reforms to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in order to give it more power to demand improvements in service and planning by the three service boards (CTA, Metra and Pace) who provide mass transit services throughout the Chicago region.

Download Jim LaBelle's testimony by clicking here.

Listen to interview of Frank Beal on WBBM Radio 780 regarding RTA Reform
Also, on March 2, 2007, Frank Beal was interviewed by WBBM's Bob Roberts on the agenda for the House Mass Transit Committee meeting. The clip is about a minute long and may be accessed by clicking here.