March 12, 2009

Mayor Daley Identifies $1 Billion In Federal Stimulus Package Projects

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley today identified more than $1 billion in city projects in the areas of education, infrastructure, job creation and training, housing, energy efficiency and public safety that are likely to be funded under the formula funding portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"The historic economic stimulus legislation that President Obama has signed into law provides every city in the nation with many opportunities to create jobs, protect people and their quality of life during these tough economic times," Daley said in a news conference held at City Hall.

"In Chicago, we're moving to take full advantage of the diverse opportunities the program offers. It builds on the many steps we're taking here to do our part to kick start our economy and help people get through the worst economy in modern times," he said.

The federal legislation includes grant funds that are distributed in two ways:

  • Directly to states and cities by formula, and
  • By competitive grants for which applicants must apply.

The grant funding rules or application timetables haven't been written yet for many programs, so the City does not yet have estimates for specific competitive grant projects.

Today's announcement outlines Chicago's initial plan for investing the formula grant proceeds from the legislation.

"Although some formulas for the distribution of these funds and some of the rules for spending the funds have still not been announced in Washington, the city and our sister agencies hope to receive approximately $1 billion in formula funding," Daley said.

"I want to make it clear that in each of these areas, we have developed initial funding proposals to invest in the future of our city. And we will be working closely with the City Council, the state, and the federal government to move these projects forward," he said.

 The Mayor said the City will use the federal funds in these major areas:

  • Improving education
  • Building and modernizing infrastructure, including streets and mass transit
  • Addressing critical housing needs, including homelessness and the foreclosure crisis
  • Creating jobs and training workers
  • Maximizing energy efficiency and conservation, and
  • Enhancing public safety

"Through the formula part of the bill alone, we estimate that nearly 16,000 jobs will be created or saved in Chicago. With a regional unemployment rate of 7.6%, the worst it's been since December 2003, those jobs will come at just the right time," he said.

Almost 6,000 of these jobs will be created in the construction industry in connection with investments in the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Housing Authority, affordable housing and road improvements.

The construction projects for which the City intends to use formula funding include 43 road projects, 12 public housing projects, 12 affordable housing projects and several public transit projects, Daley said.

The federal support will also help create 7,300 summer jobs for youth, 750 positions to provide child care, health care, education and social services and 650 community service jobs to be filled by ex-offenders and other difficult-to-place workers. In addition, the City expects to be able to preserve 1,000 positions at the CTA and 750 teaching positions in the Chicago Public Schools with a portion of the funding.

 Daley said the City will also use the federal support to make many other investments in its neighborhoods and people. In total, Chicago hopes to:

  • Rehabilitate over 900 units of CHA housing.
  • Provide emergency housing assistance to nearly 13,000 families.
  • Provide job training for more than 5,000 people, including green job training and technology training and other jobs of the future such as health care, hospitality and transportation.
  • Offer substance abuse & mental health assistance for more than 1,000 low-income residents.
  • Install energy efficient traffic lights at 800 intersections, convert 235 city blocks to energy efficient street lamps, and make energy efficient improvements in city buildings to reduce the cost of government by $3.5 million per year.
  • Expand assistance for energy retrofitting in about 1,000 units of housing.
  • Provide short- and medium-term assistance to more than 7,000 households in danger of becoming homeless.
  • Offer assistance to low income Chicagoans and help them access public benefits including food assistance, LIHEAP and EITC.
  • Provide more resources to supplement our current home foreclosure counseling programs and offer more affordable home loan and refinancing options for those who have lost their jobs.
  • Help transition foreclosed condos into affordable rental units.
  • Construct or rehabilitate 700 units of affordable rental housing.

Daley said that to improve the schools, for which the largest category of funding is available, the City will devote millions to expand after school programs and community schools, support the ongoing standardized curriculum, and train, re-train and recruit quality teachers.

"We anticipate that we'll be able to expand Head Start programs to another 450 children in need, offer child care to an additional 7,000-10,000 youngsters and have additional funds to support special education programs such as tutoring and teacher training," he said.

The formula funds will also support the City's efforts to prevent and fight neighborhood crime, including investing in more "in car" police cameras, helping to pay overtime to strengthen police efforts on the streets and continuing to modernize the aging fleet of police vehicles, Daley said.

"The plan we've announced today is a responsible one and one that we believe meets the requirements of the federal stimulus legislation. As we work to balance our budget, this support helps us avoid some spending cuts we might have been forced to make as the economy continues to slow," the Mayor said.

"Taken together, these funds enable us to protect our quality of life, help those who are struggling to make ends meet and, most importantly, create thousands of needed jobs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a first step among many the Administration is taking to jumpstart our nation's economic recovery. We welcome this federal support," he said.

The Mayor said that as the projects move forward, updated information will be available on the City's website.