Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced her FY2022 budget, including major support for climate action. As part of her Chicago Recovery Plan, there will be nearly $700 million in new bonds, of that roughly $200 million dedicated to climate mitigation and environmental justice projects.
This is a big deal. Since before the disbanding of the Department of Environment a decade ago, the city has underfunded projects and programs that invest in healthy, liveable communities. However, the bond marks key investments into clean water infrastructure, clean energy, transportation, protecting green space, community projects & waste reduction, and is an opportunity for Chicago to live up to the environmental values so many of its residents hold. This is the largest one-time investment of this kind in the City’s history.
New Climate Investments:
Clean Water & Flooding
- $13 million for water reconnection to ~1,700 households
- Funding for 20 new Spaces to Grow schoolyards, which highlight the use of green infrastructure for flooding mitigation in communities
- A new community green infrastructure grant program to support green alleys, bioswales, and other efforts in communities particularly burdened by flooding
- Funding to restart the Chatham Rain Ready program, a pilot flood mitigation project coordinated by the city, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Chatham residents and the Center for Neighborhood Technology
- New investments in outfall mitigation and flooding controls
Clean Energy & Decarbonization
- $75 million for Environmental Justice projects including 400 retrofitted low-income homes, 50 net-zero homes, an industrial community solar pilot, and five solar powered libraries
- Investment in making low-carbon mobility a reality by bringing more Divvy Stations to every neighborhood in the city, expanding the bike path network, and increasing the number of bus stops.
- $10 million for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development to support healthy, walkable, affordable, and accessible communities
Open Space & Conservation
- $87 million toward remediation of city-owned vacant lots for use by communities, including supporting community gardens
- $46 million toward tree canopy expansion to support the planting of 15,000 trees every year for five years
- $61 million to neighborhood park and park infrastructure improvements
Community and Climate Investments
- A new $15M community development fund to provide funding for a wide-range of projects to address legacy pollution issues and to catalyze the local green economy
- $60 M in climate-related infrastructure investments
- New composting drop-off hubs and organics collection pilot
In addition to funding set forth from the bond, the following environmental items are included in the city’s general FY22 budget:
- Department of Water Management budget to increase by ~ $15 million
- Department of Assets, Information and Services budget to increase by ~$514 million
- There will be a focus on finalizing the Electric Franchise Agreement through the Department’s Energy Services Program. They will have $133 million allocated towards obtaining the best energy contract for rate-payers, with clean renewable energy, billing assistance, and measures to spur economic development.
- Additionally, the Environment Health and Safety Program will receive $47.6million from Bureau of Asset Management and additional $9.5 million from the Bureau of Informational Technology to develop the city’s comprehensive compliance program.
- Increased funding for procurement of electrical vehicles and installing EV charging infrastructure throughout the city
- Department of Transportation budget increased by ~$655 million
- This will include the expansion of Divvy bike system to all neighborhoods in Chicago, and the final Phase of the Wells- Wentworth Connecter, linking Chinatown to South Loop for improved transit connectivity
- Department of Streets and Sanitation budget increased by ~$24 million
- Hiring of an 50 additional full time equivalent employees in the Bureau of Sanitation
- Development of Bureau of Recycling under Department of Streets and Sanitation to implement the city’s waste strategy
The introduction of the Mayor’s budget is just the first step. As Department hearings proceed over the next few weeks, IEC will be continuing to advocate on behalf of environmental priorities and educate Council members. We will keep you up to speed on developments through the final budget vote later this year