Digging Deep: When the Funds to Protect Chicago from Floods and Water Pollution Evaporated, Stakeholders Saved the Day

Large, multi-year projects funded by the United States Government face the challenge of working with budgets allotted in relation to fiscal periods instead throughout a project's duration. This approach allows the government to withdraw such funding at anytime if the project fails to meet federal performance requirements. This article examines a response to federal budget cuts for one such project, the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), a multi-decade effort to create--for the citizens of Chicago (IL, USA) and its surrounding suburbs--a series of underground tunnels, reservoirs, and pollution control systems for capturing and treating excess storm water and sewage. It explains how representatives from the Water Reclamation District and the University of Illinois at Chicago joined forces to reduce the project's costs and subsequently raise its cost-benefit ratio from below three to above four, a reduction that allowed the project to once again obtain the federal funding it needed, funding it lost when its cost-
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