Illinois Adopts H + T as Planning Tool
In an important step toward creating affordable communities, the Illinois legislature has adopted the measure of housing and transportation affordability as a planning tool for five agencies and as a consideration for those agencies’ investment decisions in metro areas.
Senator Kwame Raoul led the effort to pass the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index Act (SB 347) in the Illinois Senate last month, and on Tuesday the bill passed in the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, led by Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, Chief Sponsor, and seven co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.
CNT has been working with Illinois legislators since early 2009 to advance this valuable piece of legislation that applies CNT’s framework of combining housing and transportation costs to planning and making public investment decisions.
Used as a planning tool, the H + T Affordability IndexSM can effectively measure the impacts on household budgets that result from public investments, so that decision makers can choose investments that make sense for our taxpayer dollars as well as for our individual wallets.
Five state agencies participated in the development of this legislation that will provide better access to the costs of both housing and transportation. Having a tool to use as a benchmark will give these agencies the ability to screen how investment decisions will impact the cost of living for residents in metro areas.
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) can use CNT’s H+T Affordability Index, or a similar measure that includes both housing and transportation costs, to screen and prioritize public investments in MPO areas. In addition, the Capital Development Board (CDB) and the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) will recommend the use of the Index for new siting decisions.
By encouraging public investments that take advantage of existing areas of greater density, which all communities have, the State is taking initial steps that contribute to lowering the cost of living for families.
Illinois has the opportunity to set a valuable example to other states for how the use of combined housing and transportation data can move regions towards decisions that create more sustainable and equitable growth. While the Partnership for Livable Communities is driving Federal priorities to coordinate housing, transportation and environmental investments, Illinois is leading the states by example to create better and more affordable places to live and work.
CNT joins state leaders to now urge Governor Quinn to sign the Housing + Transportation Affordability Act into law with no delay.