Daley breaks down Chicago's stimulus share

Road work, CTA, public housing on list
March 12, 2009 2:52:03 PM PDT
How will the City of Chicago spend an estimated $1 billion federal stimulus? According to City of Chicago bean counters, the city will get a little over $1 billion from the federal stimulus plan, which is aimed to jump start the economy.

Daley said the stimulus money will go to infrastructure projects, such as fixing the pothole-ravaged section of Chicago Avenue west of Grand Avenue.

"Unfortunately, I drive it every day and it's in rough shape. Potholes have already destroyed my tires, alignment," said Peter Silberman, driver.

"I have to agree with the mayor. If he feels it's the worst, I guess it's the worst," said Spiro Kutrubis, restaurant owner.

The $10.5 million Chicago Avenue project is the most expensive on a long list of arterial street repairs. Here's how the city plans to use the stimulus money:

  • $86 million arterial streets
  • $241 million Chicago Transit Authority
  • $260 million Chicago Public Schools
  • $144 million Public Housing
  • $250 million would be divvied up into smaller grants
  • At a Thursday news conference, Mayor Daley said the federal government has restricted how and where the $1 billion Chicago gets can be used.

    "Under the federal law, you cannot violate federal law. I can't take this money at my discretion and use it over here. The federal government won't let you do this," said Mayor Daley.

    Alderman Pat Dowell was behind a resolution demanding the mayor reveal his stimulus money plan weeks ago. Dowell called Thursday's release of the outline "a good start," but said it's not specific enough.

    "This information should have been provided long ago," said Pat Dowell. "For example, the Byrne Justice Money, which is going to the police department, I want to know how that $20 million is going to be spent."

    During the news conference, Daley said the stimulus money cannot be used to reduce the city's running deficit, which is estimated to be around $60 million, this fiscal year.

    "This doesn't supplement our running deficit. I'm not putting any of this money to offset our deficit. You can't," said Mayor Daley.

    The mayor also said that none of the stimulus will be used to hire new city employees. He indicated that most of the money will be paid to private companies that contract with the city.