Vision for Chicago Riverwalk Set to Get Big Check from Feds

An ambitious vision for transforming a six-block segment of the Chicago River into six themed recreation areas looks almost certain to become a reality now that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has promised the project a $100 million federal loan.

"At a waterside press conference this afternoon with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promised that the roughly $100 million federal loan that will bankroll the Chicago Riverwalk will definitely be finalized by June," reports John Greenfield. And in case you're wondering, no, this isn't a leftover April Fool's Day joke about Ray LaHood's profligate spending.

"Earlier this winter the Chicago Department of Transportation sent LaHood’s agency a letter of interest for a loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act. Now the USDOT is inviting CDOT to submit a formal application for the loan, which will cover almost the entire project cost."

"The riverwalk is the first project to get this far in the approval process since Congress expanded the loan program last year," notes Greenfield. “'This is a big deal for us at the DOT because it really launches the TIFIA program,' LaHood said at the event. 'It sends a message to mayors across the country: if you’ve got big dreams come to us.' He described the riverwalk as, 'a big, bold project, just the kind of project we like at the DOT,' adding that new boat rental and tour locations, plus waterside restaurants and bars, will create a new economic corridor for small businesses and help create jobs."

Full Story: LaHood Says Chicago Riverwalk Financing Is “A Done Deal”

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