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The City
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now all they need to do is merge CTA & Metra! Anyway, we'll see how much impact this decision will really have on sprawl:


Bill to merge NIPC and CATS passes House
Potential merger of two planning agencies would take place over three years


By Gregory Meyer
Legislation fusing the metro region’s two chief planning agencies into a single body passed the Illinois House on Monday.
The measure would combine the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) and the Chicago Area Transportation Study Policy Committee (CATS)into a new Regional Planning Board over the next three years.

Each agency currently carries out discrete planning functions at a time when urban planners recognize that transportation and land use impact each other.
NIPC, established in 1957, researches development and demographic trends. CATS, formed in 1955, is the Chicago region’s metropolitan planning organization, responsible for road and transit planning and recommending allocation of federal transportation dollars.

Sponsors and supporters say merging the two agencies will make for smarter development in a still-growing region.

“Gridlock is rampant. We ought to be doing transportation and land use planning simultaneously,” said Rep. Suzanne Bassi (R-Rolling Meadows), one of the bipartisan sponsors of the bill.

The bill would allow the combined group to retain the federal metropolitan planning organization designation, Rep. Bassi said.

The House passed the bill 110-0. A Senate version has been introduced.

The Regional Planning Board would comprise five members from Chicago, five from suburban Cook County and five from the collar counties. A new member among the collars would be booming Kendall County, which does not have a seat on the CATS Policy Committee or NIPC.

NIPC is moving into the Sears Tower this fall, while CATS staff are now located across Adams Street from the skyscraper. If the bill passes, the two groups are likely to share space in the Sears Tower, officials said.

It’s not yet clear whether the bill could mean staff cuts at the two agencies.

“There may be some economies of scale in the staff,” Rep. Bassi said
 

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Cynical post-collegiate
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I find it quite amazing, although I'm wondering just how neutered an agency this might be. This ain't portland, and I doubt the planning agency will be able to carry any weight to actually get relevant level of policy through.
 

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The City
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
simulcra said:
I find it quite amazing, although I'm wondering just how neutered an agency this might be. This ain't portland, and I doubt the planning agency will be able to carry any weight to actually get relevant level of policy through.
^Now that you mention it, I have that concern as well.

These are just agencies that "recommend" things, as opposed to being actual policy-makers...
 

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Pragmatist
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Mind you, CATS actually does set policy--nothing gets built (e.g., nothing gets federal funds) unless it gets on CATS' plans. Of course, that means that everything under the sun gets onto CATS' plans, and the power brokers on the Policy Committee meet with the relevant Congressmen and whomp! $100s of millions rain upon the ground. Problem is, the Policy Committee's membership is skewed towards the collar counties: one vote for Chicago, one for McHenry County.

NIPC could have some power and does some pretty smart analyses, but as one friend said, they've internalized "we have no power" to such a degree that it's become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Next year is apparently when a bill overhauling RTA will find its way to the floor in Springfield.
.pc
 
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