Communities Drive Budgeting Process in Chicago
Last month, Chicago launched a multi-district (“ward”) Participatory Budgeting pilot project that will give residents more power in deciding how to spend local infrastructure funds. Each ward has a budget of $1 million to spend, for a total of $4 million.
The process is centered on residents’ identification of infrastructure needs and proposed projects for their wards that would be prioritized to receive “Menu Money” for construction/implementation. In May, 2013, the wards’ residents vote for those projects they believe best meet community needs, and the aldermen submit the top projects to the city for implementation.
ActiveTrans will host a Better Blocks Workshop to assist residents with identifying barriers to biking and walking in their community, and with proposing solutions for the Participatory Budgeting ballot. They will also host a Transportation Proposal Session in each of the four wards to help community committees develop residents’ ideas into full project proposals.
Advocacy Advance awarded ActiveTrans a Rapid Response Grant from to support their work to maximize this unique opportunity to secure more funding for local active transportation infrastructure.
Engaging their supporters in Participatory Budgeting could increase local funding for biking and walking infrastructure. Results of the budgeting vote will be announced in May 2013 and Active Trans will monitor funds allocations and project implementation to measure success.