Illinois Public Transit Task Force Final Report


On August 15, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn issued Executive Order 13-06 creating the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force to address serious concerns regarding the current structure of the northeastern Illinois public transit system.


With much anticipation today the Northeastern  Illinois Public Transit Task Force released its final report to the governor.  

The report stresses the importance of eliminating the RTA and forming a  new agency that will allow for a regional prospective for planning purposes, funding and evaluation of projects.

The report acknowledges the antiquated funding structure and that without investing more funds into transportation the transit system will struggle to meet future needs.

A complete section is dedicated to ethics and earning back the public trust by ensuring the highest of ethical standards and to operate in a transparent manner. 

The report also recognizes the importance of safety and a safety conscious workforce.

Our public transit system will fail if we do not act upon the recommendations in the report.  Hopefully, there will be those that have the political courage to make the tough decisions and put forth the necessary legislation to bring these changes to fruition.

You can read the full report here.

This Week’s Meetings

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APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH

View History of Fair Housing Month 

Fair Housing

Since 1983, as part of DuPage County’s requests for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, it has certified that it will “affirmatively further fair housing.” This fair housing certification refers to Public Law 90-284 known as the Fair Housing Act, which “prohibits any person from discriminating in the sale or rental of housing, the financing of housing, or the provision of brokerage services, including otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling to any person, because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or familial status.”
The state of Illinois has additional protections under the Illinois Human Rights Act for ancestry, age (40+), marital status, sexual orientation, order of protection status, unfavorable military discharge, and military status. 

You can find more information here.

DuPage Encourages Participation in Earth Hour

DuPage County officials encourage residents and businesses to participate in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29, and to incorporate sustainable energy practices into their daily lives throughout the entire year.

The annual Earth Hour event, organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), encourages residents and businesses to turn off non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., in an effort to raise awareness about climate change. This initiative aligns with DuPage County’s goal to reduce energy consumption countywide via the Sierra Club’s Cool Counties initiative. The Cool Counties initiative aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. 

You Can Read the Full Story Here

What the reporter fails to mention are the concerns about the appearance of impropriety in correlation with the campaign contributions made by Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD to the many elected officials in DuPage County and that the Resolution passed by a vote of 15-3, Tony Michelassi (D) District 5, Laurie Nowak (D) District 6 and I voted no.  Member Michelassi spoke to the fact that all vendors are required to fill out an Ethics Disclosure Statement to “appear transparent” when the fact of the matter is the board rarely acts upon the appearance of impropriety.  “How many contributions is too many?” member Michelassi asked.  “I believe that this is too many and will be voting no, not because Christopher B. Burke Engineering is not qualified or because I do not support the project, I am voting no on the appearance of impropriety.” 

The Daily Herald reports 


DuPage Taking Closer Look at Two Sanitary Districts


A new study will help DuPage County officials determine whether two sanitary districts serving residents in Lombard and Villa Park should continue operating as stand-alone entities.
County board members on Tuesday agreed to hire Christopher B. Burke Engineering to assess the operations of the Highland Hills and Salt Creek sanitary districts. As part of the $69,496 contract, the engineering firm also will evaluate potential cost savings through shared services or consolidation.
You can read the rest of story here.

To Fund or Not to Fund

Laurie Nowak (D) District 6, posed some very good questions and had some very insightful comments regarding the precedent being set by allowing a nonprofit free rent at the DuPage County Campus.  Josephs Academy is not the only nonprofit struggling to meet their financial obligations.  Are there other nonprofits that could benefit from not having to pay rent?  Is there more space available for other nonprofits that are facing similar financial situations? No one is questioning the value of the service that Josephs Academy provides, rather it is the fairness of this arrangement to other nonprofits and the  taxpayer.

Ms. Nowak asked that the county adopt a policy to avoid this situation in the future.  No, the county will be handling these types of situations on a case by case basis, was the response.

A  policy with guidelines that ensures consistency, while maintaining accountability and fairness in the process is not a bad idea at all.

The Daily Herald reports

Loss of state funding hampers new DuPage school

Less than two years after moving into space at DuPage County’s former youth home, a nonprofit school that helps young people with severe behavioral, emotional and learning disorders is struggling to increase its enrollment. As a result, county officials have decided not to charge Joseph Academy rent through the end of September. They also have forgiven missed rent payments of about $12,000 a month dating back to November.

You can read the full story here.

This Week’s Meetings

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Metra Considers Cameras at Crossing Gates


The Daily Herald Reports

Metra could install surveillance cameras at dangerous railway crossings as a deterrent to drivers who ignore lowered gates and warning bells.

The move comes after three crossing accidents occurred in February that spiraled into 172 delays. But fatalities and injuries involving vehicles and pedestrians at crossings are a continual issue for Metra and the freight railroads in the region.

You can read the full story here.

Lombard Safe Passage Across the Railway Crossing with Construction of Pedestrian Tunnel


The Daily Herald reports
Lombard’s no-frills Metra station will receive a makeover starting this spring with a pedestrian underpass plus canopies and shelters on the platforms.
Metra directors Friday approved an $8 million contract with John Burns Construction Co. with work expected to start this spring and last 10 months.
Currently, pedestrians use walkways across the tracks to reach the other side. The improvements are part of a series of safety upgrades along the Union Pacific West Line.

You can read the full story here.