Mayor Emanuel Announces Chicago Infrastructure Trust
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the creation of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, an innovative way to leverage private investment for transformative infrastructure projects. Mayor Emanuel was joined at the announcement by President Bill Clinton, who has been helping strengthen the country’s infrastructure for decades, most recently through the Clinton Foundation’s work with large cities like Chicago on energy efficiency initiatives.
“Nothing is more crucial to our long-term competitiveness and job creation than infrastructure,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The Chicago Infrastructure Trust will bring additional resources to stimulate public and private investment in our infrastructure, create thousands of jobs for Chicagoans and ensure that our residents have a world-class quality of life.”
A new program called Retrofit Chicago, will be the first series of investments made by the trust, pending approval by the City Council. By clustering energy efficiency projects across the City and its sister agencies and tapping into private investment, the trust will accelerate retrofit projects that would otherwise not have been feasible.
“I have seen first-hand how investments in our infrastructure can modernize our country, get people to work and improve our economic strength through energy efficiency,” said President Clinton. “One of the biggest barriers to this work is the financing. Through the creation of this infrastructure trust, Mayor Emanuel and the city of Chicago have taken an important step towards addressing that challenge and embracing these opportunities. I’m especially pleased the trust will begin with a focus on municipal buildings, lighting projects, retrofits and energy efficiency projects.”
As the first project of the trust, the City will work with investors to finance roughly $200 million in an effort to reduce energy consumption of participating City assets by 20%. The City currently spends $170 million annually on energy consumption. This project will reduce energy costs by more than $20 million annually, create nearly 2,000 construction jobs and remove CO2 emissions.
The Chicago Infrastructure Trust will enable each project to customize a financing structure using taxable or tax-exempt debt, equity investments and other forms of support. Each project will be coordinated with the City and its sister agencies’ long-term plan for transformational infrastructure investments.
“Having world-class infrastructure is essential for Chicago’s competitiveness now and in the future,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “I look forward to working alongside the Mayor as we put people to work revitalizing the crucial infrastructure throughout the City.”
The creation of the trust will require City Council approval, and the trust would be subject to Council oversight. An ordinance creating the trust will be introduced at the March City Council meeting.