By JOHN SCHWARTZ Published: March 29, 2012
Chicago is embarking on a $7 billion plan to transform the city’s infrastructure from the skies above to the pipes underground.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former President Bill Clinton announced this month that part of a new plan to overhaul the city’s infrastructure would be funded by the newly formed Chicago Infrastructure Trust.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning to announce the initiative Thursday. It includes projects to expand the city’s largest airport and improve its streets, water system, schools, community colleges, parks and commuter rail network. The city estimates that these initiatives will create 30,000 jobs over the next three years.
At a time when the nation is only beginning to pull itself painfully and delicately out of a deep recession, and when cities and states are cutting essential services and wondering how to keep the courthouses open and the lights on, an infrastructure proposal for a single city with an estimated cost in the billions — with a “b” — is audacious. Mr. Emanuel, in an interview, suggested that nothing less than this “integrated, comprehensive approach” will do for what he calls “building a new Chicago.”