Hi, I'm Chrissy Mancini Nichols. I've been in policy and politics for over 15 years focusing on cities, infrastructure finance and funding, mobility, land use, income inequality and economic policy. Thanks for visiting to learn more about my work. You can also turn in to my weekly show on the latest news in planning and mobility called Mondays at The Overhead Wire by searching for Talking Headways on your podcatcher of choice.
My portfolio includes creating, drafting, modeling, and passing legislation to establish a transit tax increment district that will fund major Chicago Transit Authority projects—including using value capture to finance the $5 billion Red and Purple Line Modernization and the $1 billion renovation of Chicago Union Station; a study on local tax policies that reduce income inequality; an analysis of local business incentives to encourage retail development in underserved areas; and parking studies in Chicago's busy West Loop and Bucktown neighborhoods to manage supply and demand within a private parking meter concession.
I specialize in mobility, land use, and finance planning and policy at Walker Consultants, working with cities and the private sector. I also lead Walker's efforts on autonomous vehicle policy. Previously I was the Transportation Policy Manager at Remix, a planning platform for public transit used by over 250+ agencies worldwide. From 2009-2016 I was with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), a regional planning organization in Chicago, serving as Director of Research and Evaluation and Director of Transportation Policy and Finance. At MPC I studied population and economic trends such as why cities like Minneapolis and Nashville are hotspots for growth and why Chicago is growing people and jobs slower than its peer cities. The result of this work helped implement transit-oriented development zoning reforms in Chicago. I also led efforts with government agencies to recommend and create revenue and financing solutions for infrastructure projects, worked with national partners to make financing such as the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's underutilized Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program easier to access, created a P3 intermediary for local governments, worked to implement performance measures for transportation spending that were included in the federal MAP-21 reauthorization, evaluated the economic returns of parklets for local businesses, analyzed Chicago's parking meter privatization and recommended how to save the city money and quantified, for the first time, how all of MPC's projects make the Chicago region a better place to live and work.
I served on the the North Lake Shore Drive Corridor Planning Committee and the Chicago Bus Rapid Transit Steering Committee, staffed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Transportation and Infrastructure transition committee and the Midway Advisory Panel that evaluated a potential public-private partnership at Midway Airport, the first of its kind in the nation. I also was appointed to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Technical Advisory Group on the Fiscal and Economic Impacts of Development Decisions.
Prior to joining MPC, I was the associate executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a Chicago-based fiscal policy think tank, where I worked on tax, budget and education funding policies. I was a steering committee member of A+ Illinois, a state education funding reform coalition comprised of school officials, union leaders, advocates, business and elected officials. I led the research, policy modeling and legislative strategy — drafting legislation to reform Illinois’ education and tax systems and modeling impacts. I also was appointed by the Illinois General Assembly as technical advisor to the Task Force on Economic and Workforce Development, Joint Committee on Property Tax and School Funding Reform, Senate Education committee, and House and Senate Revenue committees.
I currently live in San Francisco and have also called New York City, Chicago, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. home. In Washington, DC I served as an analyst at the U.S. Dept. of Education and as a seventh-grade social studies teacher. I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio.
I was awarded the Northwestern University Graduate School’s Distinguished Thesis Award for The Implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in Illinois, which analyzed each component of NCLB compared with state and federal fiscal policies to find how tax policy affects the implementation of the law at the local level.
In 2016 I was granted a U.S. State Dept. professional fellowship to travel to Ho Chi Min City and Danang, Vietnam to advise local governments in using public-private partnerships to build infrastructure including transit, bike share, water systems, bridges and placemaking.
My work has been featured in various media and policy outlets including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, National Public Radio, CBS News, The Atlantic, The Government Finance Officers Association's Government Finance Review, Reboot Illinois, The Chicago Policy Review, Streetsblog, BusRide Magazine, Chicago Magazine, the Urban Land Institute Magazine, the American Planning Association, the Sustainable Cities Collective, Planetizen, The Brookings Institution, the Mayors Innovation Project, Center for American Progress, and the biography Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics, by U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
When I'm not researching urban policy and reading about politics I'm rescuing dogs, enjoying the Bay Area's beauty, and playing with my own lovable dog Bob.