Chicago Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday a city program that will provide $12.5 million worth of “transportation relief” to low-income residents in an effort to combat rising gas prices.
Chicago Moves, to be offered in partnership with Fifth Third Bank and Onbe, aims to “help combat spiking costs of gas and rising inflation by providing $12.5 million in relief funding for disadvantaged Chicagoans,” according to Lightfoot’s office.
The program, which will be accessible via a lottery system with applications opening on April 27, will provide the city’s lower income residents with 50,000 prepaid gas cards worth $150 each, as well as 100,000 prepaid cards for public transit worth $50 each.
“The last two years have been exceedingly difficult for many of our residents, in particular our most vulnerable populations,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “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.”
Lightfoot said the program “endeavors to provide much needed relief and ease some of this pain” associated with rising costs.
“By subsidizing the cost of gas and transit, this program will enable participants to save their resources for other critical expenses,” she said. “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.”
Fifth Third Bank and Onbe, a payment issuing platform, are providing the physical prepaid cards and payment processing for the program with no transaction fees, Lightfoot’s office said.
The cards are set to be distributed in May to “five successive monthly waves of 10,000 residents.”
In the Chicago metropolitan area, the average price per gallon of regular gas is $4.58, according to AAA. That’s up $0.61 since last month and nearly $1.50 since the same time last year.
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