|First Regional Planning Board Director Named|
When both houses of the Illinois General Assembly signed legislation in August of 2005 that created the Regional Planning Board, it was apparent that an appointed leader of such an agency would have an enormous task. Fortunately for that individual, RPB was a merger of two of Chicagoland's most progressive planning agencies, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) and Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS). Currently the board consists of 15 members with Gerald Bennett, mayor of Palos Hills, serving as chair of the group. The executive director of RPB is a person who must be capable of leading and representing seven counties of northeastern Illinois, 280 municipalities and nearly 8 million residents by encouraging coordinated transportation and land use planning efforts.
Randall S. Blankenhorn, former and long-time employee of the Illinois Department of Transportation, has been appointed the to the position. His impressive and diverse resume suggests that he will successfully lead the planning efforts of this comprehensive organization. As the Urban Program Planning Bureau Chief, Blankenhorn has been responsible for metropolitan programming and planning. This includes leadership in such areas as airport construction and management, public transportation, environmental issues surrounding air quality, distribution of technology such as Geographic Information Systems and coordination of programs directed by the federal and state governments.
"Randy Blankenhorn's strong leadership and planning skills make him a perfect candidate for this very important job," said Robert J. Schillerstrom, chairman of the DuPage County Board.
In addition to his experience with IDOT, Blankenhorn also developed the Balanced Growth Partnership that assists municipalities in northeastern Illinois in addressing their growth concerns after analyzing projected transportation and development issues. His involvement in transportation planning spans the national level through his participation in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Active involvement in the creation of the Illinois Tomorrow Corridor Planning Grant, the first type of program that awarded communities with cash for comprehensive planning, proves that Blankenhorn is no stranger to taking the lead and testing the boundaries.
RPB's very first task is to recommend a permanent funding source and recommended board structure to the General Assembly this coming September.
See more on NIPC's comprehensive plan for the region at 2040 Regional Framework Plan - NIPC's County Development Framework .