Added Apr 17 2012
Let me preface my comments by saying that, generally speaking, I support the concept of public-private partnerships. However, the more I read about the Infrastructure Trust, the more uncomfortable I am with the structure; its lack of accountability; the potentially higher costs of financing relative to traditional bond financing for the same types of projects; lack of transparency, and the apparent delegation of aldermanic oversight and fiduciary duties of care and loyalty to a nonprofit organization that will not have accountability to tax payers or elected officials other than the Mayor of Chicago.
It is not clear what projects will be funded by the Trust, or how it could benefit local neighborhoods. To date, the Emanuel administration has indicated that the trust could be used to retrofit buildings to make them energy efficient.
There are no provisions for representatives from CPS, Chicago Public Libraries, CTA, Chicago Buildings Commission or Chicago Park District to be on the board of the nonprofit that will run the trust-in spite of the fact that many of the projects that will be funded from the trust are expected to come from these agencies. The board will be appointed by the Mayor, and is expected to have representation from financial institutions that could very well be financing the projects.