Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Offers Gift Cards To Help Residents Pay For Gas : NPR

Mayor Lori Lightfoot stresses the importance of wearing a mask as she provides an update on COVID-19 vaccinations at the Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot stresses the importance of wearing a mask as she provides an update on COVID-19 vaccinations at the Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Youngrae Kim/AP

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing to give residents transit passes and gas gift cards to reduce the cost of rising fuel prices, her office said Thursday.

Illinois residents pay an average of $4.46 at the pump, compared to a national average of $4.23. Gasoline in the state was $3.08 a year ago, according to AAA.

“Now, with inflation steadily rising and the cost of gas continuing to skyrocket, our disadvantaged residents bear a significant financial burden,” Lightfoot said.

The city’s program, Chicago Moves, would cost about $12.5 million. Of that amount, $7.5 million would go to 50,000 prepaid gas cards worth $150, and $5 million to 100,000 transit cards worth $50.

Prepaid cards can only be used at Chicago gas stations. They will be distributed according to a lottery system.

“From May, the cards will be distributed in five successive monthly waves of 10,000 inhabitants,” said the town hall.

To be eligible for gas cards, applicants must be a Chicago resident, be at least 18 years old, have a current and valid city sticker, and have household income equal to or less than 140% of the median income of the city. (For example, the maximum income for a one-person household is $91,420.)

Travel cards will be assigned based on geography and usage. Lower-income neighborhoods in which residents use the Chicago Transit Authority more often will be prioritized, Lightfoot said.

“The CTA remains the most affordable and convenient way to get around the city, and we work hard every day to provide the essential service that so many Chicagoans rely on, especially when public transit is the only option.” , said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.

To be eligible for transit passes, applicants must be a resident of Chicago and have a household income at or below 140% of the city’s median income.

Applications open April 27, Lightfoot said.

States are looking for ways to reduce the cost of gas

California Governor Gavin Newsom has made a proposal similar to Lightfoot’s that would give residents free rides on public transit for three months, give a gas discount of $400 per car, and suspend a fraction of gas tax for one year.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp suspended the gasoline tax for about 10 weeks, while Maryland Governor Larry Hogan suspended the gasoline tax for about a month.

Lawmakers in more than 20 states have proposed gas tax holidays ranging from one month to two years, which, depending on the amount of their gas tax, could save consumers 25 to 50 cents a day. gallon or more.

Several US Democratic senators, led by Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, are also calling for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon.

Michael N. Clark