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2024 State of Illinois Policy Agenda

Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is an independent planning organization working to address regional built environment issues through a racial and economic justice lens. Our goal is a thriving Chicago region for all residents. To this end, MPC’s work focuses on creating Thriving Communities, Equitable Infrastructure and Just Public Systems. This framework captures the vision we seek to advance through collaborative policy development and advocacy. 
MPC advocates for policies and practices that advance racial and economic justice in our communities, infrastructure, and public systems. Below are the policy priorities for the state of Illinois. View the policy priorities for the City of Chicago here.

Thriving Communities

All communities should have the resources needed to thrive, including accessible and affordable housing, healthy and resilient neighborhoods and community-centered planning and engagement. Policies below support inclusive growth, jobs, housing and neighborhoods as well as community wealth building. MPC will continue to support legislation that expands affordable housing supply through preservation strategies and new production and protects vulnerable residents from unnecessary displacement. These policies also mitigate historic harms and improve public health and environmental outcomes in BIPOC communities.

Create equitable opportunities to access economic benefits of water infrastructure investment

Build an equitable lead service line replacement economy. Replacing lead service lines will invest billions of dollars into Illinois over several decades. It is imperative that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – who are up to twice as likely as white Illinoisans to be living in a community with these toxic pipes – benefit from this economic activity. Doing so will take dedicated and sustained outreach and programming.

Equitable Infrastructure   

Public and private investments need to adopt inclusive development standards and support sustainable infrastructure for all communities. These policies increase use of performance-based methods to guide infrastructure funding. Policies must also increase the amount of public and private investments in historically disinvested communities.     

Prioritize safety, decarbonization, and equity in the transportation system

Invest in climate friendly transportation, including funding transit and improving its governance. The transportation sector is Illinois’ largest emitter of climate-warming greenhouse gases. Illinois needs to change how it invests in transportation to prioritize climate-friendly travel modes like transit, walking, and biking. This must include fully funding robust transit operations and addressing the fiscal cliff anticipated by 2025. In tandem with funding transit, we must reform how transit is governed to ensure transit service is customer-centered in a post-COVID environment. Reforming governance can lead to changes like increased service during midday, evening and weekend periods and ensuring riders can transfer easily between all services in the region without paying separate fares.

Ensure equitable lead service line replacement

Distribute federal lead service line replacement funding equitably. The 2021 federal Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act is anticipated to make available over $1 billion in lead service line replacement funding in Illinois communities. MPC will evaluate initial distribution of funding to ensure it is being distributed equitably,and will advocate for more equitable distributions when needed.

Make public incentives work for every community

Reform financial incentives so their use is transparent and they advance equity and sustainability goals. The State of Illinois authorizes local units of government to use a number of financial incentive programs for economic development purposes, with TIF being one of the most widely used. MPC advocates for including criteria that encourage equitable economic and environmental outcomes while supporting investment across Illinois. We also support state legislation that will bring greater transparency, accountability, and equity in the use of financial incentive programs, particularly TIF.

Just Public Systems

The public sector needs tools and internal capacity to transform inequitable systems. Additionally, government processes and structures may need to be transformed to make them more transparent and fair for all. These policies lead to codified structures, government policies and programs that advance racial equity and inclusion, sustainability, and civic participation. These policies also increase community stakeholder representation that impacts government decisions. 

Ensure all federal water infrastructure investments flow equitably

Make the State Revolving Fund work for every community. Many water utilities with limited staff can’t access the State Revolving Fund programs, which administer millions of dollars in drinking water and wastewater financing every year. There is some evidence that these programs especially struggle to reach utilities serving majority Black and Latinx residents. MPC is working with stakeholders and State agencies to ensure the program rules and process promote access by Illinois’ Black and Latinx communities.

Build statewide capacity to manage water resources

Create and fund a state water information center. Illinois has some of the world’s greatest water resources available to us: we steward the Illinois River, Mississippi River, Lake Michigan, and the Ohio River. Our state also faces profound water-related challenges: groundwater supplies are drying up and are at risk of contamination, rainfall patterns are becoming less predictable and more intense in a globally warming world, and new classes of pollutants like PFAs are threatening clean water. Illinois needs to proactively manage both our resources and our challenges. MPC supports creation of the Illinois Integrated Water Information Center at the University of Illinois to help the state aggregate data, understand trends, and plan for management of the state’s water.


View 2024 City of Chicago Policy Agenda