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News from President Toni Preckwinkle

Commissioner Murphy’s Recent National and Statewide Appointments

Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy was appointed in February to President Obama’s National Ocean Council Governance Coordinating Committee (NOCGCC) established under Executive Order 13547.  As a local government representative for NOC Murphy joins a group of state, local, and tribal officials to deliberate and coordinate with the Federal government on the National Ocean Policy and related matters of inter-jurisdictional collaboration and cooperation.  In addition, given the heavy burden that is placed on our oceans and coasts, the National Ocean Council will address some of the most pressing challenges to ensure healthy oceans for present and future generations.

Commissioner Murphy was invited to Washington, DC in June to participate as a panelist for  the Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) session entitled, “Ocean Contributions to American Prosperity: Securing our Way of Life on a Changing Planet.”  Joan spoke about Cook County’s Great Lakes and coastal management actions that contribute to American prosperity and security, and why participating on the National Ocean Council helps the County and its partners to secure the Great Lakes’ and oceans’ benefits for current and future generations.

Commissioner Murphy was also an invited panelist at the National Ocean Council sponsored Great Lakes Regional Listening Plenary Session and Webinar on Monday, June 12, 2011, at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Chicago.  These sessions offer a forum for the public to learn about National Ocean Policy and provide opportunity for public comment as it develops Strategic Action Plans to achieve nine national priority objectives that address some of the most pressing challenges facing our oceans and Great Lakes.

As Ports Subcommittee Chair for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee, Joan Murphy has become well-versed in port issues, and strongly supports the increased use of energy efficient and environmentally friendly short sea shipping initiatives to meet the demands of forecasted growth in freight transportation.  Short sea shipping, utilizing the 25,000 miles of inland waterways, will relieve highway congestion, and reduce air pollution and green house gas emissions that contribute to global warming.  She has met with the U.S. Maritime Administration, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, USEPA, and Homeland Security to move this initiative forward and to discuss port and freight security and efficiency.

Prior to her appointment to NACo Ports Chair in 2009, Commissioner Murphy served as Vice Chair of the NACo Transportation Steering Committee for six years where she became a strong advocate for improvements to rail infrastructure and freight movement.  Long a proponent of true high-speed rail, Commissioner Murphy has addressed the Illinois Commerce Commission on findings based on her site tours of successful High-Speed Passenger Rail facilities in Europe and she has met with U.S. Department of Transportation officials and the Federal Railroad Administration in Washington, DC to discuss high speed rail viability.

Commissioner Murphy was named in June to Governor Pat Quinn’s High Speed Rail Advisory Committee.  This nine person committee will work in partnership with the University of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Transportation to provide oversight for the study of the feasibility of 220-mph passenger rail service between O’Hare International Airport, downtown Chicago, McCormick Place, the south suburbs, Champaign-Urbana and beyond.