City Council Approves Rahm's Infrastructure Trust - NBC Chicago
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City Council Approves Rahm's Infrastructure Trust



    Aldermen on Tuesday voted 41 to 7 to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Infrastructure Trust during a special City Council meeting.

    The vote was delayed last week as council members pushed for answers to many questions surrounding the trust.

    The approval means the mayor's plan, meant to improve the city's crumbling infrastructure, can be funded by private donations through partnerships made by Emanuel. The City Council would still vote on land and money projects, but it wouldn't necessarily get to review projects funded by the Infrastructure Trust.

    "I think this is a win win across the board," Emanuel said. "All of this is about getting people to work and solving the problem."

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    The $7 billion plan is intended to improve city streets, water systems and schools, and spend big bucks to renovate Chicago Transit Authority stations.

    Following last Wednesday's council and amid concerns over lack of transparency, Emanuel said he would issue a pair of executive orders calling for independent eyes on any project undertaken by the Infrastructure Trust.

    One would require a financial adviser to assess the risks, costs and economic benefits a project would bring and prepare a report for the city council to review. Another "independent third party" would analyze the impact of the Trust overall and recommend ways it could be improved.

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    Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) this week proposed an alternative ordinance to give the Council more oversight over the program.

    Waguespack's proposal includes giving the council approval over all projects, requiring the council to approve the trust’s board of directors and requiring the Trust to appoint a financial advisor to produce “a cost comparison to traditional municipal financing methods.”

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