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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new plan to assist residents who are struggling with skyrocketing gas prices by distributing thousands of free gift cards to help ease the pain at the pump in the first major city to do so.
With Americans now feeling the full effects of President Joe Biden’s disastrous policies, particularly his war on the fossil fuels industry as his administration pushes the Green New Deal and a national transition to electric cars and clean energy, Lightfoot has acted to ease the economic effects of the hidden tax as gas prices in the Windy City are among the highest in the nation.
On Thursday, the embattled Democrat who has done little to deter violent crime in her city rolled out the new program which will hand out 50,000 prepaid $150 gas cards through a lottery system as well as 100,000 public transit cards pre-loaded with $50 to Chicagoans to assist them with transportation costs.
“As we’ve all seen and experienced, there has been a shocking rise in gas prices across our city, and really across the region and the country,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor unveiled the $12.5 million assistance program which goes by the name of “Chicago Moves” at a news conference as well as on Twitter where it received very little support.
Applications will open on April 27.
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) March 31, 2022
“The last two years have been exceedingly difficult for many of our residents, in particular our most vulnerable populations. Through the pandemic, we have collectively faced tragedy, and many among us have faced accompanying economic hardship. Now, as inflation steadily rises and the cost of gas continues to soar, our disadvantaged residents are carrying a significant financial burden,” said Lightfoot in a press release issued by her office.
“Chicago Moves endeavors to provide much needed relief and ease some of this pain. By subsidizing the cost of gas and transit, this program will enable participants to save their resources for other critical expenses. Chicago is a city that moves. People have to be able to get to work, school, places of worship, medical offices, grocery stores. The goal of this program is to help make those moves easier,” the mayor said.
According to the mayor’s office, “Up to 50,000 physical prepaid cards of $150 will be distributed to eligible residents via a lottery system. These cards will be valid for one year after receipt and may only be spent on the cost of fuel at gas stations located within Chicago. Applications are limited to one per household. Beginning in May, cards will be distributed in five successive monthly waves of 10,000 residents,”
In order to be eligible for the giveaway, one is required to be a Chicago resident who is at least 18 years old who has a current and valid city sticker with correct mailing information for their vehicle, and has a household income at or below 140% of the Area Median Income for Chicago.
(Video: YouTube/WGN 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. These cards will not only help ease the burden of record-high gas prices but will help advance clean transportation by offering weeks of free public transit access to thousands of commuting Chicagoans. 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,” Lightfoot’s office announced.
Lightfoot’s Twitter announcement garnered very few favorable responses, and was met with a torrent of backlash from all angles:
This is an incredibly stupid way to increase pollution and traffic. Fund transit, speed up busses, make bike and scooter share more affordable. For that amount of money, we could buy the entire stock at @WorkingBikes and give bikes to those in need.
— Jordan Evangelista (@JordanLarkinE) March 31, 2022
So basically if you’re barely scraping by, but not considered a low income Chicagoan, you’re what, up a creek w/o a paddle? Chicagoans across the board are feeling the hurt from the gas prices here. How about working on something that helps all of us, not just a select group.
— Keely Mroczek (@keekerdee) March 31, 2022
Or, they could just lower the gas prices.
Take your money.
Give it back to you.
Make it look like they’re doing you a favor.
— WineThief (@thief_wine) April 1, 2022
Please use this money for something more useful for this city that is full of CRIME. #ONEtermMayor
— 👨🏽💻 (@IKidMickey) March 31, 2022
Roughly 1/3 of Chicago households don’t have a car. I’ve seen numbers higher than 60% of American households in the poorest decile don’t have a car. I can’t understand the reasoning behind this other than a bid for votes. Use that money for a lasting investment or real relief.
— Jordan Evangelista (@JordanLarkinE) April 1, 2022
As always, the answer from government is always to spend more and not cut revenue. Why not reduce taxes? Illinois has the 2nd highest gas tax rate in the country.
— engelsmj (@Mengzz24) March 31, 2022
They get the bill for the gas cards.
— Jim Bob Furley (@BobFurley) March 31, 2022
It would pay for the gas for sure
— ooh okay (@zeuqram_k) April 1, 2022
The gas card giveaway comes as Lightfoot is facing yet another scandal, this time over her massive security detail of 71 police officers to augment her own personal bodyguard detail of 20 officers, news that was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times this week. The Democrat mayor has been a proponent of cutting tens of millions of dollars from the police budget.
She predictably blamed former President Donald J. Trump without actually naming him for her need for a large security presence.
“When the president of the United States uses the world’s largest megaphone and platform to target you personally, terrible things happen. And he not only blew a dog whistle, he pointed really evil and dangerous people right at my doorstep,” Lightfoot said, according to the paper.
Lightfoot is up for reelection next year.
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