News for January, 2013
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
CNT will be participating in an upcoming summit on Building a 21st Century Transit System. Riders for Better Transit, a group dedicated to organizing Chicagoland transit riders to push for improved and expanded services in the city, will be hosting a summit at the UBS Tower Conference Center on February 25th. Bringing together a group of transportation policy leaders, the summit will discuss the challenges of creating a 21st century transit system. Focusing on issues like reform of the transit authorities’ governance structure and funding sources and investment strategies of the Chicagoland transit system, expert panels will discuss potential solutions to the problems facing the region. Read more »
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
With especially stretched budgets, and a commitment to keeping tenant rents low, it only makes sense for affordable housing providers to reduce their operating costs through energy efficiency upgrades. Yet, the affordable housing community utilizes energy efficiency resources at a disproportionately low rate compared to other types of housing. Why?
A recent blog post CNT Energy co-wrote with Focus on Energy addresses this quandary. It explores key themes essential to better integration with affordable housing, including language employed, division of duties, and timing.
Read the complete post here>>
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
At CNT, we advocate for transit because it is an important strategy for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet today, so it was good to hear President Obama reaffirm his commitment to take action on the issue in his recent inaugural address. The Presidential Climate Action Project, which CNT participated in creating, sets out specific, practical steps that the President and Congress can take to reduce America’s carbon emissions and set the country on the path towards a renewable energy future. The President is certainly familiar with the report (I personally put a copy of the freshly printed 2008 version of it in then candidate Obama’s hand) and has indicated his support in the past for many of the steps that it outlines.
Although climate change has become a sensitive issue politically, there are important steps that the President can take to advance the agenda without legislation. CNT encourages him to follow the recommendations contained in the PCAP and communicate directly with the American people about the importance of taking action on climate change and of the economic opportunities presented by making the transition towards a green, advanced energy economy.
The President should also engage with Congress to push for the passing of legislation capping carbon emissions or pricing carbon. These market based mechanisms, by promoting efficiency and encouraging the private sector to invest and innovate in new, green sources of energy, must be part of any comprehensive solution to the problem.
The decision surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline presents the President with an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to tackling climate change. CNT urges him to kill the pipeline which does nothing but increase America’s dependency on polluting fossil fuels. Recent severe droughts and extreme weather conditions has reminded everyone of the urgency of the threat that we face. CNT encourages the President to follow through on the promises he has made as soon as possible.
Read the 2012 PCAP Action Plan here>>
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in the process of developing Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Guidelines and Policies in order to expand upon the environmental benefits of Complete Streets and respond to changing climate conditions. The guidelines will define ways to implement environmental best practices on CDOT infrastructure projects and all work within our streets and alleys. With input from project stakeholders, CDOT is proposing a consistent criteria for the design, implementation, and maintenance of sustainable infrastructure best practices that will help ensure these innovative ideas are consistently implemented.
On January 29th from 6-9pm, CNT will host a public briefing meeting for CDOT to share the draft guidelines. As a project stakeholder, CNT is a participating member of the task force to inform and shape these unique, wide-reaching guidelines and policies. If you’ve ever seen your street re-paved, only to see a utility trench cut a year later and roughly covered over, these guidelines hope to address this issue (among many other issues that affect the long-term viability of our urban infrastructure). Read more »
Friday, January 18th, 2013
As part of the “fiscal cliff” legislation signed into law early this year, Congress provided a number of 2012 and 2013 tax credits for home energy efficiency improvements. These tax credits, coupled with financial incentives available for energy efficiency improvements, make right now a lucrative time to invest in home energy efficiency.
You’ll get twice the deal when you take advantage of an incentive program from Energy Impact Illinois, an alliance to help Illinois residents lower energy costs. The program helps you reduce energy bills and also provides financial incentives to make recommended improvements to your home. If you enroll in the program and install energy efficiency measures this year, you’ll receive an instant rebate of up to $1750 from Energy Impact Illinois and your local utility and, you can now also claim a credit of up to $500 for the very same improvements, so long as the improvements are eligible under the tax extension. Read more »
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Governor Quinn’s announcement of a new $1 billion Clean Water Initiative to overhaul the Illinois’s “aging water infrastructure” left one thing out—stormwater. But don’t worry! CNT has good news for communities seeking to improve water quality and reduce urban flooding, according to our inquiry to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, stormwater is included.
Since the Governor has ordered that this money should be invested in local and regional projects through the State Revolving Loan Funds, now is a perfect time for local governments and counties to apply for low interest loans (1.93%) for their water supply and stormwater projects that will prevent leaks, improve water quality and reduce urban flooding.
Read more »
Thursday, January 10th, 2013
In the Chicago region, as in most US metropolitan areas, the dispersal of businesses and residents from settled communities to greenfield developments has created a number of socioeconomic and environmental challenges. The growth of employment centers in exurban areas inaccessible by mass transit creates strains on municipal infrastructure, depletes farmland and natural resources, increases regional congestion and pollution from cars and trucks, and exacerbates a jobs-housing mismatch as workers must drive farther and pay more at the fuel pump. These trends can be countered by creating more jobs, housing, and amenities near well-established passenger and freight transportation infrastructure, particularly in the west Cook County suburbs, as a recent CNT report finds. Read more »
Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Integrated resource planning, or IRP, is a comprehensive form of water planning that considers all aspects of water resources planning – water supply, wastewater and stormwater – and the interrelationship between them. Its ultimate objective is to establish long-term, least-cost goals that sustainably support a community’s needs and ensures water resource protection.
As communities continue to grapple with budget shortfalls, mounting water infrastructure needs and overwhelming stormwater pollution problems, we need to ensure we are making the best water infrastructure investment decisions and utilizing funds the most efficiently. Read more »