Mayor Lightfoot's gas card plan gets green light from Chicago City Council | Applications now open

Chicago Moves application now open for free transit, gas cards

ByCraig Wall, Diane Pathieu, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, April 28, 2022
City of Chicago opens applications for transit, gas cards
The Chicago Moves gas card application is now open after the city council approved Mayor Lori Lightfoot's plan to give out free gas and transit cards.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago City Council narrowly approved Mayor Lori Lightfoot's $12 million plan to give out prepaid gas and transit cards to provide relief from high gas prices.

Under the new Chicago Moves program, the city will issue up to 50,000 prepaid $150 gas cards and 100,000 prepaid $50 transit cards.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot's plan passed by a vote of 26-23.The gas giveaway was modified to win crucial support from three aldermen, allowing the measure to pass 26-23.

The earlier version dedicated 75% of the gift cards to areas in red. The new version expanded to cover the parts of the city in orange. The rest will be distributed equally among each ward.

Applicants must be Chicago residents who are at least 18 years of age and have a household income at or below 100% of the area median income for Chicago. Those seeking gas cards must have a current, valid city sticker.

According to Lightfoot's office, the rest of the pre-paid cards will be allocated by lottery across the entire city. The first lottery will be held in the second week of the month from May through September. The Chicago Moves cards will be mailed to the winners.

Residents can apply now for the Chicago Moves program online, in-person at any Chicago Public Library location, or by mail by sending a completed application to:

ATTN: Dept. of Finance: Chicago Moves

121 N. LaSalle St., 7th Floor

Chicago, IL 60602

The application process opened Wednesday after the city council approved the measure, but it was not without some serious debate. The plan went some last minute changes to get the needed votes.

"To say it comes off as a gimmick would be an understatement," 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez said.

"Anything that we can do to help give people a leg up a hand up, I think it's something that we as a body need to do," 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin said.

ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington discusses the City Council narrowly passing Mayor Lightfoot's gas card plan.

"Food is more expensive, housing is more expensive, everything is more expensive, so why just gas?" 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden said. "It feels like a knee-jerk reaction."

The mayor fired back at her critics, saying people need help.

"Are we solving every problem with this, of course not, it's a modest program," Lightfoot said. "But to suggest that it's a gimmick, it's a stunt, it's the mayor's political, let's put all that nonsense aside."

The gas giveaway was modified to win crucial support from three aldermen, allowing the measure to pass 26-23. The revised plan won over 36th Ward Ald. Gilbert Villegas.

"I was happy to hear it was expanded in taking into consideration some other data points," Villegas said.

Several aldermen questioned if it was the best use of the money.

"When Willie Wilson is giving out gas money to folks, it's coming out of his pocket," 40th Ward Ald. Andre Vasquez said. "When the city does it, it comes out of the taxpayer dollars."

The mayor urged aldermen to think of the city as a whole and not just whether the program would benefit people in their wards.

"There are going to be times when we need to do something as a body, when only a small, localized group of people are going to benefit," Lightfoot said, "and this is one of these times."


"Once again, we heard you, Chicago. The passage of Chicago Moves will provide much needed financial relief to families who are struggling during this trying time. Today was personal to me. My family always struggled financially and it was rare that we had enough money to fill up a whole tank of gas and many times, we had to cobble together dollars to keep the car running. When we did not have enough, we had to borrow from someone or try to carpool. And I shudder thinking about the times we ran out of gas. Putting these cards in the hands of our residents shows exactly what our government should be doing: helping those in need when they need it."