Cook County Board of Commissioners Passes Commissioner Donna Miller’s Justice40 Infrastructure Initiative (Cook County, IL) — On Thursday, the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution championed by Commissioner Donna Miller of the 6th District aimed at affirming Cook County’s commitment to furthering the principles of the federal Justice40 Initiative and seeking all available resources to do so. The resolution unanimously passed out of committee prior to passage by the full Board. Justice40 is a whole-of-government effort to ensure that federal agencies work with states and localities to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. The resolution directs Cook County to advance health equity and climate justice in alignment with Justice40 by applying for federal grants made available by recently passed federal legislation.
“By empowering the Cook County government to seek all available federal resources to follow the Justice40 Initiative, we can work to address the pressing issues of health equity and climate justice facing our communities,” said Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller. “I am proud that the Board approved my resolution today, sending a strong message that fighting climate change and improving environmental justice are priorities, and that all work done in this space must be done in an equitable way. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to pursue climate resilient infrastructure development here in the Southland.”
The recently passed Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) created multiple federal funding sources for counties to apply directly to the EPA, HHS and other agencies for grants for projects related to furthering Justice40-related initiatives. Commissioner Miller’s resolution directs the County to adhere to procurement policies that regulate equitable participation of minority and women business enterprises in the execution of grant-related projects and requires a quarterly report from the Budget Director on grants received.
To build an equitable climate-resilient future for Cook County, reparative climate resilient infrastructure investments are necessary to close the infrastructure gap that has resulted from past policies, and to enable communities that have been subject to disinvestment, underinvestment, and marginalization to fully participate in and benefit from such development.
The foundation for this approach was laid in the Cook County Policy Roadmap, which has guided policy and investment priorities for the county budget, the Equity Fund, CARES Act funding, and American Rescue Plan Funding (ARPA) through its several pillars. The Sustainable Communities Pillar seeks to support healthy, resilient communities that thrive economically, socially, and environmentally and helps inform funding proposals for the Equity Fund and ARPA including by working and investing in environmental justice and sustainability by supporting projects spanning from community solar to comprehensive transit planning. The Smart Communities Pillar seeks to provide an innovative infrastructure that will change how we live, work, and connect through investments in transportation and water infrastructure, in addition to increasing access to electric vehicle charging stations throughout Cook County, focusing on where there are currently large gaps in service areas, primarily in the south and west suburbs, and investing in digital equity.
Cook County Board of Commissioners Passes Commissioner Donna Miller’s Justice40 Infrastructure Initiative