News for February, 2010
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
The Illinois Rain Garden Initiative grant program provides funds for the construction of a rain garden on public property. A rain garden is a depression, often near a downspout, that is planted with native wetland or aquatic vegetation. Rain gardens can be designed to flower throughout the summer and built to will hold stormwater runoff or snow melt, allowing the water to be absorbed slowly by the plants and the soil.
Rain gardens reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, allow for the recharge of groundwater supplies, increase wildlife habitat and often reduce the need for mowing and its associated costs and pollution. You’ll find the application forms at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/RainGarden/applicationpage.htm. Teachers, not-for-profit organizations and community groups may apply. The maximum award is $1,000. Grant applications due by March 19, 2010. For more information, contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Education (email@example.com or 217-785-0973). The IDNR and Illinois Conservation Foundation administer this program. Funds are provided through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
(Photo of St. Margaret Mary School and Church raingarden)
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Yesterday, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, announced the 51 projects—a mix of highways to boulevards projects, complete streets initiatives, streetcars and light-rail projects, and innovative highway funding—that will receive federal funding from the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program, which was funded by $1.5 billion included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). According to Sec. LaHood, awards went to “projects that create jobs, stimulate economic activity, and help develop livable communities.”
USDOT continues to affirm its commitment to fund innovative transportation projects that focus on multi-modal transport, reducing greenhouse gases and creating livable communities; simultaneously addressing economic, environmental and travel issues.
In particular, the Chicago region is poised to benefit greatly from a $100 million investment into the CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program.
Read more »
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
Through the end of 2009, investments by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in public transportation have created almost twice as many jobs per dollar as investments in highways – and the advantage is growing.
The most recent data from states, made available by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, shows that every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 19,299 job-months, compared to 10,493 job-months for every billion spent on highway infrastructure. Public transportation projects create more jobs than road projects because they spend less money on land and more on labor, and because projects are often more complex, whether laying track or manufacturing vehicles.
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Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
State Jobs Data Show Growing Advantage from Stimulus Investments in Public Transportation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Through the end of 2009, investments by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in public transportation have created almost twice as many jobs per dollar as investments in highways – and the advantage is growing. The most recent data from states shows that every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 19,299 job-months, compared to 10,493 job-months for every billion spent on highway infrastructure. Public transportation projects create more jobs than road projects because they spend less money on land and more on labor, and because projects are often more complex, whether laying track or manufacturing vehicles.
The data were released by the US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on February 9, 2010 and analyzed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Smart Growth America, and U.S. PIRG. The new data from the states add two months and several billion dollars to previously released data. The new data show public transportation’s job-production performance advantage widening.
“States have put more than $22.6 billion of transportation stimulus funds under contract,” said Geoff Anderson, President of Smart Growth America. “We’ve gotten a lot of vital projects for that money—and we’ve also learned a lot. Treasury Secretary Geithner just told Congress: “Our basic test should be: what’s going to add jobs?” At the stimulus’s one-year mark, we’ve learned that the answer is ‘more public transportation.’”
New data show public transportation’s job-production performance advantage widening
The number of jobs created or saved per billion stimulus dollars spent on transportation is rising over time for both public transportation and highways. The data shows public transportation creating, on average, 2,880 more job months per billion dollars than it had two months ago. Highway spending created 1,712 more job months per billion than two months ago. Thus, a billion dollars invested in public transportation produces 8,806 more job months than a billion dollars spent on highways. The difference is an increase from two months ago when the extra employment impact from investing in public transit was 7,638 more job months. The states are reporting updated job-creation numbers as they bring more projects under contract, and as the states correct earlier reports.
“Not only do public transportation investments create more jobs, more quickly than highways. We now see the advantage growing over time as the stimulus advances,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “If job creation was an Olympic event, public transportation would be laps ahead and gaining. At the one-year mark, it isn’t even close.”
Other recent data also confirm that ARRA investments in public transportation are superior job creators. Last month’s President’s Council of Economic Advisers Second Quarterly ARRA Economic Impact Report showed that public transportation was the top job generator among ARRA clean energy programs (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/100113-economic-impact-arra-second-quarterly-report.pdf, page 47, Table 13).
“The new data shows that the job productivity of transit is no fluke – transit not only maintained its job productivity advantage over highway investing over a longer period of time, in the fourth quarter it was the top job supporter of all clean energy investments in ARRA, according to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors,” said Scott Bernstein, President of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. “Shifting as much of our transportation spending to the most job-creating investments as we can is essential. The Senate should pass companion legislation to the House’s Jobs for Main Street bill, and make it effective by giving transit spending parity with highways.”
CNT, SGA, and US PIRG analyzed the data reported by states and posted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee here: http://transportation.house.gov/singlepages/singlepages.aspx?NewsID=852
The results of the analysis (click on for larger version):
(The report by CNT, SGA, and US PIRG on the earlier data, “What We learned from the Stimulus, and how to use what we learned to speed job creation in the 2010 jobs bill”, is available at: http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/stimulus2009.html.)
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
As communities continue to grapple with perennial budget shortfalls, mounting water infrastructure needs, and overwhelming stormwater pollution problems, we need to ensure we are making the best water infrastructure investment decisions (economically, socially and environmentally) to utilize public funds most efficiently.
Traditional water planning has not recognized the interconnected nature of water supply, wastewater and stormwater management. More comprehensive planning methodologies, sometimes called “Integrated Resource Planning” (IRP), recognize these relationships from a least-cost, publicly transparent, and scenario-based perspective.
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Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Congratulations to current and former CNT board members who were honored at the 16th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards. These awards recognize individuals, non-profits and for-profit organizations that have improved the quality of life in our region’s communities and neighborhoods.
Board member Patricia Saldaña Natke & her firm UrbanWorks won the First Place Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design for the UNO Veterans Memorial School Campus – which once was an abandoned industrial bakery in the Archer Heights community area. In accepting the award, Pat expressed the joy she had in designing a facility for children of all ages in the neighborhood where she grew up. Its unique design opens up to the community through an inviting glass facade. This sustainable project includes a green roof, energy efficiency measures, and solar panels and has applied for LEED gold certification. Read more »
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
The Preservation Compact announced that CNT Energy’s innovative energy efficiency program, Cook County Energy Savers, is proving that residential energy retrofits can scale-up quickly, reaching thousands of residents and delivering cost-effective, large-scale benefits.
In just 18 months, Energy Savers has retrofitted 3,500 apartments and other rental units in Chicago and neighboring communities, typically cutting energy consumption by 30 percent. The program has more than 2,500 units in construction and is on track to complete more than 8,500 retrofits by the end of this year, making it one of the country’s largest and most successful programs for retrofitting existing multi-family, rental housing. Read more »
Monday, February 8th, 2010
The Illinois EPA is seeking public comment by Wednesday, February 24, 2010 on the development of a Stormwater Green Infrastructure Plan for the State of Illinois, as required by the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act, passed in 2009.
Green Infrastructure is the interconnected network of open spaces and natural areas that naturally recharges aquifers, improves water quality and quantity, and provides recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat. Green infrastructure manages stormwater by capturing raindrops where they fall. CNT encourages reuse of natural moisture by using rain gardens, swales, green roofs, tree planting, permeable pavement and other low impact approaches to restore natural drainage functions and recycle stormwater in urban environments. Read more »
Friday, February 5th, 2010
We are firing up the grills this afternoon to honor our dear friend and colleague, Shelby Johnson, who died last week after a short illness. Shelby was the heart and soul of CNT.
Working in a LEED Certified Platinum building, you have to maintain a “green’ and healthy environment. Shelby was the person who did that for CNT. Shelby worked for 13 years at CNT as our maintenance person. As we grew and renovated our old weaving factory building, he was the key person who kept it clean with the appropriate cleaning solutions. He was our chief recycler, painter, graffiti buster, indoor gardener, and all around go-to-guy. And most of all he was the person who loved to bring us all together over barbeques. He was always ready to get the grill going in our Rain Garden and he would cook up a storm of wings, turkeys, hamburgers, tofu burgers, and vegetables. Read more »
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
(From CNT’s partner, Reconnecting America)
The U.S. Department of Transportation has released its 2009 Record of Accomplishment, and it includes implementation of the Economic Recovery Act, called “the most ambitious infrastructure investment program in more than half a century, creation of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program, and a number of other initiatives including the Federal Transit Administration’s work with the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.
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