Chicago citizens will soon be able to apply to receive $150 in free gas and $50 in public transportation cards at the end of April.
On Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot's office announced that the proposed program, Chicago Moves, will help residents navigate as gas prices continue to increase. According to AAA, Illinois residents' pockets are hurting the most during inflation, paying an average of $4.46 a gallon for gas compared to the national average of $4.23.
NPR reports that Lightfoot intends on focusing on disadvantaged residents, primarily in low-income neighborhoods. "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 Chicago Moves program will cost the city $12.5 million, with $7.5 million going toward 50,000 prepaid gas cards worth $150 that could only be used at Chicago gas stations and $5 million for 100,000 transit cards worth $50.
How will the city pass these cards out to Chicago residents? Through a lottery system. "Beginning in May, cards will be distributed in five successive monthly waves of 10,000 residents," the Mayor's office said.
Eligibility for gas cards is based on several factors: applicants must be Chicago residents, at least 18 years old, have a current or valid City sticker, and have a household income at or below the city's medium income.
Transit cards will be given out based on geographic data, with low-income residents being prioritized since those residents use Chicago Public Transportation the most. Some residents speculate this announcement and the recent gas giveaway by businessman and former Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson as political moves.
Applications open on April 27.