When the Census Bureau make projections, it always shows high, medium and low projections.
That results in a large range for their forecasts, a large margin for error.
Readers of this blog know that the entire justification given by the County for their $135 million plan to expand Randall Road is that the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) projects population is going to boom again in McHenry County, just like it’s the 1980s.
Keep in mind this is the SOLE basis for the project, despite the fact that the County’s own numbers show traffic on that portion of Randall Road has not increased in ten years.
Unfortunately, CMAP’s projections were off.
They didn’t even get the SIGN right, saying population was increasing when it was actually decreasing.
Well, CMAP has released its revised population projections for the six county metropolitan area. (GO TO 2040/Socioeconomic Forecast Update).
Did they change their forecast rates of growth?
Did they change their methodology?
Note the comment period has closed. (My apologies for not having found this before.)
The key language is in the second paragraph of the Introduction:
“It should be noted that this adjusted forecast does not revisit original forecast methodology or assumptions; rather, it starts with the GO TO 2040 forecast as a starting point, and then corrects for the base-year error by applying the forecasted increase to the new (actual) 2010 base.”
In other words, despite the fact that their projections for 2010 were radically incorrect, and despite growth projections that are radically at odds with both national projections and McHenry County’s history over the last 24 years, CMAP didn’t change a thing except their “starting number”–the 2010 population–even though the starting number shows their model was incredibly optimistic.
This continues CMAP’s lousy track record.
The 1995 projection in the County 2010 Transportation Plan, made by CMAP’s predecessor, NIPC, was off by 22%.
CMAP’s 2007 forecast of McHenry County’s population was off by more than 7% over just a three-year time frame.
The Census Bureau, a much larger and more sophisticated agency than CMAP, shows more humility in their projections.
The Census Bureau shows high, medium and low projections, which results in a large range for their forecasts, a large margin for error.
CMAP declines to provide such information.
In December 2012, the Census Bureau lowered the national forecast rate it had made only four years earlier.
Their former projected annual growth rate was 0.88%; the new projected annual growth rate is 0.65%. (And Illinois is growing slower than the national average with 50% of its residents wanting to leave the state.)
That tiny change resulted in a difference in projected population of over 39 million, a full 9% lower than the earlier projection.
Is CMAP projecting an annual growth rate of 0.65%?
No, the CMAP forecast underlying the Randall Road project continues to project that population in McHenry County will increase by 2% per year, or more than three times the rate the Census Bureau projects the national population will grow.
In fact, CMAP’s projections indicate an annual growth rate between 2020 and 2030 over 3.0% per year!
Given that population has actually declined in McHenry County, and given that CMAP has a terrible track record, and given that they continue to project population growing at a multiple of the national rate, is it logical to spend $135 million TODAY to fix problems based on these projections?
Or is it more logical to say,
Population is down.
Clearly we are not going to grow rapidly for at least the next few years.
So we have lots of time to see what happens before we commit taxpayer dollars.
We can afford to wait and see what facts emerge.
Make your own decision and then call your county board members and tell them what YOU think.
They’re easy to find. Just click here.