Infrastructure & Digitalization Committee
The Infrastructure & Digitalization Committee advocates for strategies, public policy, and infrastructure priorities that promote innovative regional infrastructure networks to build an adaptable, sustainable, and resilient Chicagoland. The Committee will act through its unique convening power to bring a diverse group of businesses, academics, labor, and community leaders to speak with a unified voice.See Our Legislative Principles
Federal Transportation Funding and Matching Grants
The Federal government has recently enacted historic pieces of legislation designed to help modernize infrastructure on a national level, including offering local municipalities the opportunity to receive direct investments and grants to make local investments. Items such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), to name a few, represent over $1 trillion of federal investments over a certain period. The Committee will focus on working with federal, state, and local governments to secure as many funds as possible with a keen focus on projects that will produce the most productive return on investment.
State Capital Funding Allocations and Project Completion
In 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed a historic capital bill for the first time since 2009. The plan promised to make a $45 billion funding plan over 6 years. With the conclusion of this plan quickly approaching, and a number of projects still underway, the Committee hopes to continue advocating for continued investments and sustainable growth.
Illinois Energy Policy and Implementation
One key feature of any conversation related to infrastructure, especially given the rapidly growing public interest in reaching a carbon-neutral and sustainable future, is energy. In recent years, every level of government has focused on energy policy and the transition to clean energy. The business community is committed to helping create a clean energy present and future, however, reasonable, and measured approaches, governed by data-driven and experiential approaches must be part of the conversation. To that end, the Committee will focus its efforts on helping public officials at all levels of government to ensure an equitable and smooth transition to clean, affordable, and reliable energy.
Increased Accessibility and Improvements to O’Hare and Midway
One significant reason Chicago is one of the nation’s foremost transportation hubs is access to two world class airports. Ensuring the conditions for O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport to grow and thrive will be a vital component of the advocacy work of the Committee.
Railroad-Associated Economic Growth
Chicago is considered the railroad hub of the U.S., with approximately $3 trillion in goods transported through the Chicagoland region every year. To ensure that passenger, freight, and intermodal transit continues to sustain the local and national economy, rail advancements must continue to receive funding. To that end, the Committee would look to establish new business initiatives to leverage and build on Chicago’s rail legacy through retention, expansion, and development of industrial and distribution corridors within the greater metropolitan area.
Regional Mass Transit Growth and Improvement
With the challenges that came out of the pandemic, there was no greater sustained impact on any public mode of transportation than mass transit. The RTA has estimated that pre-pandemic levels of ridership will not be reached again in this decade, and, yet the pandemic relief dollars authorized by the Biden and Trump Administrations will quickly run out—leaving a $730 million funding cliff. The Committee will advocate for new, innovative means of improving our systems and a modern multi-modal future.
Smart City and Technology Innovation
The pandemic served as a catalyst for a new digital society. The advent of videoconferencing, remote working, social distancing, and the economic and public health changes in consumer behavior that these phenomena brought about, are by most accounts here to stay. With rapid changes in use of technology to have access to healthcare, employment, travel, or even grocery delivery has changed dramatically. The Committee will focus on exploring policies that adhere to this change in behavior and advocate for policy initiatives that reflect these changes, such as electrification, automation, or other tech advances.