Updated: Mar 18
APA Illinois and APA national policy and advocacy staff are working together in 2021 to establish relationships with key legislators that could have an impact on APA's 2021 legsilative priorities. Sen. Tammy Duckworth has been identified as a federal advocacy target for APA in 2021.
On March 1, 2021, the APA-IL sent the communication below to the Senator and her housing and transportation staff, asking them to support APA's agenda by prioritizing climate change, housing, broadband, and transportation infrastructure.
Do you want to help APA and APA-IL secure the federal funding and support that our communities need?
You can help out by writing Senator Duckworth and your other representatives today! APA makes it easy to reach out to your legislators via a prepopulated, online form. Click here for more information.
March 1, 2021
Dear Senator Duckworth:
The 117th Congress convenes at an urgent moment in our nation’s history. Together, we face the immediate challenge of building a sustainable recovery from pandemic and recession and the demand to ensure our recovery lays the foundation for a stronger future. We must address the current crisis, and we must act to close the gaps and tackle the injustices that leave too many behind. We must adopt and implement policies and plans that prepare for the demands and opportunities of a better future.
Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA Illinois) and our 1402 planners, planning officials, and engaged citizens across the Illinois stand ready to offer the expertise and innovative ideas of our members to you and your staff as Congress prepares to tackle today’s daunting challenges.
Planning is essential to the nation’s recovery. Federal relief and stimulus require local and regional planning for successful implementation. In Illinois, planners have worked to keep development projects moving and support adaptations that helped local businesses. Local officials rely on the tools and information from planning for smart, effective decision making. We help communities understand rapid changes, give all residents a voice, and find solutions to create thriving places.
Congress must act to support and empower a planning-led recovery that repairs today and rebuilds for a more just and equitable tomorrow. We have an opportunity to advance an agenda that leads the nation forward with hope and encouragement. Investing in people and places means we can restore our economy while seizing the opportunity to address social challenges and reinvent communities for a better future for us all.
APA Illinois supports an agenda for recovery and reinvention and urges Congress to act on four key priorities this session:
Support recovery of the nation’s communities
Job one for Congress is to act on recovery measures that meet immediate needs providing fiscal stability for the states and localities on the frontlines of pandemic response and economic recovery. Effective relief and recovery legislation should support essential local and regional efforts to meet needs for housing, transportation, education, support for businesses, and health.
Advance recovery through smart investment in transportation and broadband infrastructure
The most effective path toward long-term stimulus is infrastructure investment. Infrastructure legislation can ensure that we are connecting people to opportunity. Infrastructure legislation should give cities and regions new tools and accelerated investment to increase access and innovation and plan for the demands of a rapidly evolving future. Congress should make climate change planning and resilience a central pillar of infrastructure policy; expand and improve safe biking, walking, and public transit; and, provide sustainable funding with more resources provided directly to communities.
Make housing opportunity and economic mobility central to the long-term approach to recovery
Housing security is a cornerstone of recovery. COVID 19 has exacerbated an already perilous landscape for housing affordability and availability. Action is needed to support unmet housing needs, ensure access to housing and neighborhoods of opportunity, connect housing to infrastructure investments, and plan for community development that expands housing choice.
Secure our future by acting on climate change, resilience, and environmental justice
Climate change is not only a threat to our future but also a real and present danger as communities face accelerating risks now. Meeting these challenges is also an opportunity to create new jobs and advance long-term innovation and sustainability. Planning is central to adapting our infrastructure and built environment, curbing emissions from two primary sources – transportation and buildings – and mitigating harm from natural disasters. Federal policy should embrace a planning-led approach to the climate crisis that prepares for the future while ensuring a resilient present.
Each of these priorities – recovery, infrastructure, housing, and climate change – need the federal government to be a partner with local communities. Federal resources, incentives, and policy are vital to restoring our health, our economy, our environment, and our communities while building a foundation for a stronger, more prosperous future for all.
On behalf of all APA Illinois members, I look forward to working with you to advance these important priorities. Beyond relief, Illinois planners see investment in infrastructure as the next major priority that this Congress must address. To that end, members of the APA Illinois Legislative Committee and leadership would like to virtually meet with your staff member in charge of transportation issues at their convenience in March to discuss Illinois planners’ transportation priorities for infrastructure stimulus and the next surface transportation reauthorization. Please contact me and Paula Freeze, our Chapter Executive Director to set up a meeting. We will contact you in a few days to see what may be possible.
Please feel free to contact me or APA Policy Director Jason Jordan if you have questions or would like additional information. APA has research and policy materials available on each topic and is ready to share our expertise and insights.
Thank you for your leadership and service at such a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.
David S. Silverman, AICP
Legislative Chair, American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter