The Chicago City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan 41-7 to find private backers for public improvement projects on April 24. The mayor delayed a vote last week on the Infrastructure Trust after critical aldermen said they needed more time to consider the measure.
The trust will be a $1.7 billion fund from private investors interested in bankrolling projects across the city. So far, the city has only announced an energy retrofit for some public buildings, which is expected to lower their utility costs. In exchange for refurbishing the buildings, the investors will get back a dividend funded by the energy savings.
The ordinance, which was drafted by the mayor's office last month, was criticized by some aldermen for not including City Council approval over the trust's deals, and for not including standard transparency and ethics disclosure provisions. They also asked for more time to consider the trust, comparing it to Mayor Richard M. Daley's rushed parking meter privatization. Some said they would withhold their vote without changes.
Emanuel revised the ordinance before a Finance Committee vote on April 16, adding more City Council oversight and transparency provisions. But several aldermen continued to press for more time to review the ordinance. The mayor postponed the scheduled vote on April 18 for six days, and said he would allow an independent financial review of every trust project.
See how the City Council voted below: