In a small victory this week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to distribute prepaid gas cards and city transit cards to Chicago residents has moved on to the full City Council for a vote after some controversy over the idea.
Mayor Lightfoot first suggested the idea as gas prices soared and inflation caused financial hardship for Americans across the country. While some expressed concern that the mayor’s plan was more politically motivated than it was intended to help city residents, the move narrowly passed in a 15-12 vote in the city’s Budget Committee.
Lightfoot’s plan is to distribute 50,000 prepaid gas cards and 100,000 Chicago Transit Authority prepaid cards to Chicago residents, using $12.5 million of city money to fund the measure.
The proposal was changed from its original version after the Budget Committee required the bulk of the recipients would be from either “mobility impaired areas” of the West and South sides of the city, or from low income households.
Critics of the plan say Lightfoot’s idea has more to do with publicity for herself ahead of the early 2023 mayoral election in which Lightfoot is running for reelection. One of Lightfoot’s opponents, businessman Willie Wilson used his own money to purchase over $1 million in free gas at Chicago gas stations to assist city residents in getting fuel amid a gas price hike.
Proponents of the idea say it is a small but effective way to help Chicago residents combat the impact of inflation and the rising cost of living. “This is a small way to help some of our most challenged residents,” said West Side Ald. Jason Ervin.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOCKCLUBCHICAGO.ORG
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