The following is from Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition of 11 membership-based organizations in Illinois.
Mayor Emanuel insists on moving forward with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust ordinance, despite widespread questions around equity, transparency, and accountability.
Gaper’s Block wrote about the Sunlight Foundation, who states that “transparency and openness are the very foundations for public trust; without the former the latter cannot survive.”
Without transparency, there is no Trust. Pretty straightforward. So why does Emanuel insist on bulldozing this through?
For a mayor who campaigned on his administration ushering in a new era of transparency, ramming through legislation that as written today lacks core taxpayer protections, and has no clear mechanism to enforce basic public access, forcing a vote on such flawed policy makes no sense.
Mayor Emanuel’s ordinance, and the subsequent Executive Order, does not protect Chicago working families from paying billions more than they might if the city used other financing mechanisms. User fees, like distance-based fares on the CTA, will hit marginalized communities furthest from city limits much harder than wealthier commuters living near downtown.
It creates a new level of systemic inequity, similar to Tax Increment Financing in Chicago, where resources will disproportionately benefit wealthier neighborhoods, leaving low-income communities in the dust. What projects in Englewood and Back of the Yards would provide global investors with the high returns they will demand?
Mayor Emanuel, it is time to put working families before global investors.
Aldermen, it is your job to make sure that Chicagoans aren’t stuck with another parking meter boondoggle. Stand with working families, and vote no on the Chicago Infrastructure Trust.