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April 28, 2000

Ryan Unveils New Balanced Growth Initiative, "Illinois Tomorrow"

RIVERDALE -- Governor George H. Ryan today unveiled a new coordinated approach to balanced growth for communities throughout the state called "ILLINOIS TOMORROW."

"I pledged during the campaign that I would lead Illinois into a new era of smart growth," Ryan said. "With the ILLINOIS TOMORROW initiative, we will be able to provide municipalities with the tools they need to encourage the creation, expansion, and restoration of livable communities."

ILLINOIS TOMORROW is a balanced growth initiative that is a voluntary, positive incentive based approach to planning and growth, which focuses on state programs that invest in existing communities by improving job opportunities, infrastructure and quality of life for residents of these communities. The initiative focuses on state assistance for local projects and partnerships with local governments.

ILLINOIS TOMORROW is based on five core balanced growth principles:

  • Reducing Traffic Congestion
  • Preservation of Open Space
  • Reinvestment and Redevelopment
  • Quality of Life
  • Local Government Partnership

Working together with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, ILLINOIS TOMORROW is a response to disturbing statistics that show that Illinois is faced with vanishing open spaces, loss of agricultural land, decaying urban infrastructure, increased traffic congestion, and a reduction in the quality of life in many communities.

"If we do not take action, these problems will only worsen, resulting in the loss of irreplaceable natural resources, damage to our economic competitiveness, and an erosion of the quality of life we enjoy in this great state," Ryan added.

A major component of ILLINOIS TOMORROW is the coordination of existing state programs. Until now, those programs have operated independent from one another, lacking the types of common sense coordination that defines the program.

Three new programs have been created to assist ILLINOIS TOMORROW. The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ Prime Sites and Linked Development programs, and the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Transportation Corridor Grant program are the marquee elements to Governor Ryan’s balanced growth initiative.

Prime Sites is a $30 million program that will help with the development of some of the states distressed urban areas. The Linked Development program will link existing resources and potential investments as part of a broader economic development strategy.

The Corridor Planning Grant Program is a five-year, $15 million initiative

provided to local governments to develop plans that promote the efficient use of

transportation facilities and an improved quality of life. It will fund planning activities

that promote the integration of land use, transportation, and infrastructure

improvement in major transportation corridors in Illinois.

  Governor Ryan also announced the formation of a new Balanced Growth Sub-Cabinet. Members of the Sub-Cabinet will include the Secretary of Department of Transportation and the directors of the department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, Agriculture, Commerce and Community Affairs, the Illinois Development Finance Authority and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The Sub-Cabinet will integrate their expertise and work together to coordinate key decisions impacting growth and development in Illinois. They will evaluate existing state programs to ensure that those programs are working the way they should.

The Balanced Growth Cabinet will have the authority to recommend additions or changes to state programs to make those initiatives more effective in achieving balanced growth.

" Achieving balanced growth between oftentimes competing interests of economic development and environmental preservation requires careful planning, and a good deal of teamwork by state and local officials," Ryan said.

Governor Ryan was joined by Mayor Joe Szabo of Riverdale, Mayor Ron Ghilardi of Lisle, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, George Ranney, Metropolis 2020, Mary Sue Barrett, Metropolitan Planning Council, Rita Athas, Director of Regional Programs for the City of Chicago, Tom Skinner, Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Brent Manning, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, Pam McDonough, Director of the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and Kirk Brown, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation.


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