Thousands will be Hired to Build a New Chicago

March 29, 2012

The city of Chicago is getting upgraded down to its core and tens of thousands of workers will be hired to do it.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday unveiled Building a New Chicago, a three-year, $7 billion program that will upgrade nearly every aspect of the city’s infrastructure network while creating more than 30,000 jobs.

It will be one of the largest investments in infrastructure in Chicago’s history.

“Whether it is renewing our parks or repairing our pipes, repaving our roads or rebuilding our rails, retrofitting our buildings or revitalizing our bridges, we must restore Chicago’s core,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our plans are comprehensive because our needs are comprehensive — because no city in America relies on its infrastructure more than Chicago.”

The mayor assured residents that the investments will not equate to an increase in taxes. Many of the projects will be paid for through reforms, efficiencies, cuts in central offices, direct user fees, and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust.

Earlier this month, Emanuel, alongside former President Bill Clinton, unveiled the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, created to finance major city projects and put construction workers to work. Chicago real estate would be retrofitted to reduce energy costs and those savings would be used to pay back the loans provided by the Trust.

One of the first projects funded by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust is “Retrofit Chicago,” a $225 million effort to retrofit City buildings, reducing their energy consumption by 25 percent and creating 900 jobs in the next three years.

Other improvements included in the Building a New Chicago plan:

*The replacement of 900 miles of century-old water pipe, the repair of 750 miles of sewer line, and the reconstruction of 160,000 catch-basins.

*A $1.4 billion investment in O’Hare airport over the next three years, creating 5,900 jobs, including opening two new runways by 2015.

*A $660 million investment in Chicago Public Schools, and a $479 million investment in the City Colleges of Chicago, to create modern educational environments that will propel our students into the jobs of tomorrow.

*A five-year, $290 million capital plan for the City’s parks that will include the acquisition of 180 new acres of parklands and the building of 20 new playgrounds and 12 new parks.

*The completion of two new boathouses this year on the Chicago River, with two new boathouses next year.

*Renovation, repair or rebuilding of more than 100 CTA stations.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is working hard to improve our city.

*The creation of the first 16 miles of Bus Rapid Transit Route on Jeffrey Boulevard, with future routes being developed for the Central Loop.

*The 2014 completion of the Bloomingdale trail.

*The reform of the Aldermanic Menu, and tax increment financing (TIF), so that these tools better match the city’s infrastructure needs.

“While our infrastructure challenges are not unique, our resolve and determination to see them through is,” said Emanuel.

“I look forward to rebuilding our city’s infrastructure so we may continue to lead in the 21st century.”

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