Building Our Economy: Transportation for a New Illinois (2010)

“Building Our Economy: Transportation for a New Illinois ” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“The foundation for this document was set in the Commercial Club of Chicago report that created Chicago Metropolis 2020, which stated that ‘if we do the right things now’ then we can build ‘one of the ten or fifteenth great metropolitan centers of the new world economic order that is emerging.’ More than a decade later, it is clear that ‘the right thing now’ is to build Illinois’ new economy on a transportation framework of pragmatic policies, integrated plans, coordinated governance, and rational financing.

This report begins with a sketch of the emerging sectors of a new Illinois economy, indicating how these opportunities are dependent upon a complex set of transportation decisions and assets. The report then specifies what needs to be done to capture those employment, profit and growth opportunities. And it concludes with a frank discussion of how to pay for transportation and adjust to a carbon-constrained environment.”

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Building Our Economy: Transportation for a New Illinois Executive Summary

“Building Our Economy: Transportation for a New Illinois Executive Summary” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“Growing Illinois’ economy through strategic transportation investments and policies is the central argument of Chicago Metropolis 2020’sBuilding Our Economy: Transportation for a New Illinois. The report explains why and how to do that.Illinois’ central location and its historic leadership in transportation produced two centuries of expanding opportunity and growth. But our economy has changed fundamentally, and we have lost sight of how smart transportation policies create jobs and prosperity.If we make transportation decisions that reflect our understanding of the economy, we can materially boost our state’s performance. If we do not, our competitiveness will continue to erode.Transportation for a New Illinois outlines the clearly emerging characteristics of the state’s economy and shows how they are influenced by our transportation policies. The report makes specific recommendations to build our economy by improving how Illinois prioritizes, plans and pays for surface transportation.

Download a pdf version of “Building Our Economy: Transportation for a New Illinois Executive Summary.”

Regional Economic Benefits from CN’s Acquisition of the EJ&E (2008)

“Regional Economic Benefits from CN’s Acquisition of the EJ&E” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“The proposal for the Canadian National (CN) Railroad Company to purchase the Elgin Joliet and Eastern (EJ&E) Beltway, upgrade track and interchange connections and then route its existing trains along the beltway (effectively by-passing the heart of the Chicago rail-hub) extends the capacity for all rail users of the already congested rail terminal network by perhaps several years. CN would obtain a seamless connection for each of its five subdivisions, and two well placed rail yards. These two factors would contribute to operational efficiencies for CN through trains in terms of improved transit and yard time traversing Chicago.Other rail carriers in the network would benefit as well from reduced yard wait time and delays idling on congested track within the EJ&E arc.

This transaction when viewed from the perspective of regional land national economic benefit is associated with numerous direct travel time and freight cost(both transportation and logistics) implications as well as safety and emission outcomes. These direct changes have been identified by understanding how the performance of critical transportation infrastructure affects more than the vehicles and their contents on intersecting transportation modes or trip purposes (rail and highway intersections, passenger vs freight rail.

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Time is Money: The Economic Benefit of Transit Investment (2007)

“Time is Money: The Economic Benefit of Transit Investment” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“The Chicago Metropolis 2020 report — Time is Money: The Economic Benefit of Transit Investment — proves that new funding for transit is an excellent investment.  Using quantitative models, we calculated the long-term transportation and economic benefits that would result from implementing the RTA Strategic Plan, Moving Beyond Congestion. We wanted to know if the benefits of proposed new transit spending would outweigh the costs — would the public receive a positive return on its investment?

We used very conservative assumptions. We assumed that all of the region’s road projects planned to be completed by 2020 would actually be built by then.  And we did not consider impacts on property values or short-term economic boosts from construction employment.”

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The Metropolis Freight Plan Technical Report (2004)

“The Metropolis Freight Plan Technical Report” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“This Technical Report is intended as a resource for the reader who wishes to ‘look under the hood’ and find out more about what is behind the findings and recommendations in ‘The Metropolis Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods.’ It describes in more detail the research, data, analysis and findings developed as part of the planning effort. The Technical Report consists of nine sections, each of which stands alone in describing one aspect of the project.”

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The Metropolis Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods (2004)

“The Metropolis Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“Few of us spend much time thinking about how the shelves of our grocery stores are always fully stocked or how a package mailed from New York City one afternoon can arrive at our homes and offices before noon the following day. Too often, we take for granted the efficient delivery of freight into our region, out of our region and throughout our region. Freight is coming and going, sometimes at a snail’s pace inside the semi-trailers stuck with us on the Edens Expressway and sometimes on freight cars pulled slowly along the railroad tracks that block the road home to our families. Trucks move $572 billion worth of goods in our region each year, and railroads transport $350 billion in goods.

Because of poor regional planning and inadequate infrastructure, the freight often travels very slowly and contributes greatly to traffic congestion in the Chicago region.By all projections, the situation is going to worsen in the future. If that happens, traffic jams on our highways and side streets will become much, much worse, and shippers are going to look for ways to avoid moving their goods through our region. The impact will make it difficult for businesses that need fast, dependable freight service and will be a blow to freight industry workers, who number more than 87,000 at our railroads and trucking firms today.

Chicago Metropolis 2020, a business-backed civic organization, has spent months looking into this problem and developing solutions that will help the region avoid such a crisis. Aided by generous financial support from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust and guided by a senior project team, we have consulted experts in freight systems. We have used the most modern technical tools for analysis, reviewed freight plans and ideas from around the world, and interviewed a variety of leaders from industry, government and civic organizations.”

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The Metropolis Plan: Choices for the Chicago Region (2001)

“The Metropolis Plan: Choices for the Chicago Region” was produced by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization created by the Commercial Club of Chicago.

“The premise of ‘The Metropolis Plan’ is simple. We can build a better region. We can spend less time in traffic. We can live nearer to our jobs. We can protect more open space and environmentally sensitive areas. We can build communities that are friendlier to walking and biking and therefore healthier for the people who live in them. We can make economic opportunity available to more of our region’s residents.”

Download a pdf version of “The Metropolis Plan: Choices for the Chicago Region.”