Submitted by Jean Butzen on November 19, 2009 - 14:07

Federal Bailout Spending Creates Re-Structuring Opportunities

I recently learned about an interesting example of a government-led collaboration effort focusing on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the federal bailout. The process of determining how to spend bail out dollars in metropolitan Chicago is is being led by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or CMAP, the official regional planning body for northern Illinois. Recently I heard a presentation by Randall Blankenhorn who made a perfect argument for how it's critical, particularly when presented with such tremendous resources - $14billion for this part of the state - to use the funds to restructure the delivery of services in the region.Mr. Blankenhorn explained that as early as November 2008, in the very early days of the discussion of a federal bailout bill, CMAP's board approved a set of principles for how the funds should be spent in northern Illinois. One of these principles is: The investments should be partnered for real reform. To prioritize local infrastructure investments that in a comprehensive way look beyond transportation benefits to include land use, economic, environmental, social, and other impacts. In other words, all of these issues are intertwined; so let's weave the strategies together to create comprehensive solutions and leverage the impact of the investment to reposition the region and its services for the future.To accomplish its goals, CMAP is partnering with foundations, nonprofit organizations, and local government agencies throughout the region in a coordinated, accountable fashion. We are fortunate to have CMAP leading this process for investment of our American Recovery act funds. With all of the negative publicity about the American Recovery Act, it's nice to see a regional planning authority doing a good job with dispersing the funds. Do you have examples of good government collaboration you would like to share? Post a comment with your own example.