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Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Infrastructure Trust Expensive and Redundant?

The Infrastructure Trust was conceived of by Emanuel's administration to help gain private funds to restore the Uptown Theater. It hasn't done that, and some are questioning if it can serve any other useful purpose.
December 27, 2017, 6am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Chicago, Illinois

Rahm Emanuel's administration started the Chicago Infrastructure Trust to raise funds from private investors for infrastructure projects. So far, it hasn't been able to do that. "The bold idea was that private financing could be found for much-needed, big-ticket improvements for the city, making it possible to get more of them done sooner and sparing taxpayers from having to foot the bills. City Hall says that still can happen," Tim Novak reports for the Sun Times.

In the meantime, the organization has cost the city $5.1 million dollars in salaries, rent, consulting fees and other costs. The Uptown Theater (which was to be its first big project) remains unrestored. "Rather than disband his taxpayer-funded not-for-profit after failing to attract the private investors Emanuel said it would, the mayor shifted course, changing its mission after the Uptown deal fell apart two years ago," Novak writes. The Trust has aided in selecting contractors for projects like the planned police and fire training facility on the city's west side, but Novak argues: "All are jobs that might otherwise have been done by the Chicago Public Building Commission, which has built Chicago’s police stations, firehouses and schools."

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Published on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 in Chicago Sun Times
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