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Chicago Infrastructure Trust: A Model For The Future?

Posted by Steve Anderson on Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

In it’s relatively short life span (Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced it March 2012), the Chicago Infrastructure Trust has garnered it’s fair share of skepticism and awe. Check out what experts, journalists, and Mayor Emanuel himself, have to say on the newly formed Chicago Infrastructure Trust.

“Sometimes if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. During his time as White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel was unable to push through President Obama’s proposal to establish a National Infrastructure Bank…So it’s important that now Mayor Emanuel announced the creation of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) as the initial policy strategy designed to support the region’s bold new plan for economic growth and job creation.”
– Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute

“Some might think we have some kind of authority to create or execute a project,” says the trust’s chairman, James Bell, recently retired Chief Financial Officer of Chicago-based Boeing Co. “We don’t have the ability to determine what’s an appropriate project for the city to undertake,” only to consider alternative ways to finance them.”
– Paul Merrion, Crain’s Chicago Business

“Mr Emanuel is well aware that other cities are watching this experiment with interest. The mayor is a hugely ambitious man, who is undoubtedly keen to leave a lasting legacy, and who some believe may want to remain as mayor for a period of Daleyian proportions. He, of all people, will want to build something that other cities will want to copy, not avoid.”
– Investing in Infrastructure: A Question of Trust, The Economist

“The first series of projects to be brought before the Trust will likely be for investments of approximately $225 million for energy efficiency at City assets, such as buildings. The City and sister agencies, currently spend $170 million on energy in buildings and related assets annually, and this proposal can lead to savings of more than $20 million each year. It is anticipated that this investment will generate up to 2,000 jobs, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to removing 30,000 cars from the road annually.”
– The City of Chicago, Sustainable Chicago 2015

“Partnering with the private sector is not the solution to all funding challenges, but it is appropriate for many. Mayors and Governors know they can no longer wait for Washington to tackle our nation’s infrastructure challenges, and in lieu of federal action to create a National Infrastructure Bank, Chicago has developed an innovative program that will help improve the quality of life for its citizens and create economic growth. Mayor Emanuel understands how urgently this is needed and is bringing leadership, pragmatism, and creativity to this issue.”
– Marcia Hale, President of Building America’s Future

 And watch the video below to hear concerns on both sides of the Infrastructure Trust debate:

Watch Rahm’s grand plan on PBS. See more from Need To Know.


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