'Chicago Moves' program to make free gas, CTA cards available amid high gas prices, Lightfoot says

ByEvelyn Holmes, Eric Horng, and Maher Kawash via WLS logo
Friday, April 1, 2022
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago Moves, a program to offer free gas cards and CTA rides to provide relief from high gas prices.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More help is on the way for some Chicago residents struggling with soaring gas prices and transportation costs.

"It cost me $107 to fill up and I fill up like every four days," said Jajuan Stewart, who owns Roadside Hero Road Service.

This time, it's the city offering aid with its "Chicago Moves" initiative, a financial assistance program aimed at providing relief for Chicago residents struggling with transportation expenses.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said prepaid gas and CTA cards will be made available to some Chicagoans to offer relief from high gas prices.

RELATED: President Biden expected to announce plans to tap oil reserve to control gas prices

We will work to ease residents' pain at the pump and reduce household expenses," Lightfoot said. "We are the first and largest major city in the country to provide this type of relief to our commuters."

She said it was time for this as the average cost for a gallon of gas is now at $4.87 in Chicago, well over a dollar more than last year.

WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot announces transportation program

According to AAA, Americans are spending roughly $70 every time they fill their tank.

The mayor said residents have made it clear to her that they're feeling that pinch.

With the help of supporters, like Fifth Third Bank, the plan aims to provide $12.5 million in relief funds in the form of pre-paid gas cards and public transit cards.

"It will benefit CTA riders across the city, especially south and west sides," said CTA President Dorval Carter.

"So by subsidizing the cost of gas and transit, we're helping residents get to work school, the grocery store or the medical office or wherever they need to get to, enabling physical mobility directly ties into economic mobility," Lightfoot said.

However, drivers in Chicago pay $.53 per gallon in taxes when you add up city, county and state taxes.

The City of Chicago relief effort follows gas giveaways by businessman Willie Wilson.

RELATED: Free gas giveaway Chicago: As more free fill-ups coming, some officials push back

It also follows week's decision to table the mayor's initial plan to roll back the $0.03 per-gallon increase. The City Council's Finance Committee was supposed to take up the mayor's plan this past Monday, but that was abruptly canceled.

"There might be some political undertones and opinions to it," said motorist, Sam Amoah.

Alderman Howard Brookins, who chairs the city council's transportation committee, thinks the giveaway is the best way to help people.

"If you get 20 gallons of gas, the city will save you $.60," he said. "People would think that was a big gimmick."

Using a lottery system, the city's planning on handing out gas cards worth $150 each for as many as 50,000 drivers and $50 Ventra cards for some 100,000 riders.

To be eligible for the gas cards, applicants must:

- Be residents of Chicago

- Be at least 18 years old

- Have a current and valid City sticker with correct mailing information for their vehicle

- Have a household income at or below 140% of the Area Median Income for Chicago

In addition to the physical prepaid cards, the city will also distribute or add value to 100,000 cards for use on public transit in the amount of $50 each. Of these 100,000 transit cards, 75,000 will be distributed based on geographic data, prioritizing high CTA-utilizing residents in low-income neighborhoods. An additional 25,000 transit cards will be distributed citywide.

To be eligible for the transit cards, applicants must:

- Be residents of Chicago

- Have a household income at or below 140% of the Area Median Income for Chicago

Applications for Chicago Moves will open on April 27. More information will be made available pending City Council approval.

President Biden.is also promising to lower gas prices with the largest-ever release of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve: one million barrels a day for the next six month, which is about 5% of America's daily consumption.

"There isn't enough supply, and the bottom line is -- if we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now," Biden said.

The president is also leaning on oil companies to increase production, calling on Congress to impose fees on any wells on federal land that are sitting idle.