CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council narrowly approved Wednesday Mayor Lightfoot’s plan to handout prepaid gas and mass transit cards to Chicago residents.
The vote was 26 to 23.
The plan is to use $12.5 million and have a lottery for people to get $150 on a gas card or a $50 card to use on the CTA.
The debate was passionate. Supporters said with gas prices soaring above $5 in some places, it was time to act.
“I don’t want be in a position where I go against something that’s gonna help people,” 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett said. “‘Cause people already calling my office asking how they can get a gas card.”
Those who voted no had various reasons for doing so.
I might get two full tanks of gas and then what?” 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston said.
One large tweak to the plan was lowering a family of four’s income to be eligible to under $93,200 and focusing more than 75% of the funds to people in the city who need it the most — on the South and West sides.
Lightfoot has tweaked her plan several times to try and gain support. It barely passed out of committee last week with some alderpeople voting reluctantly to send it to the full council.
Many alderpeople say the mayor is simply reacting to announced mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, who has held three gas giveaways worth $2.2 million.
Mayor Lightfoot, who has not announced whether or not she plans to run for re-election, insists her giveaway is not about politics.
“Folks, people in this city are hurting badly and we, I, feel an obligation to do our part to try to address this need,” Lightfoot said.
Applications from residents are currently being accepted at chicago.gov/chicagomoves.