High waves in Lake Michigan along the Chicago shoreline. Credit: L.S. Gerstner (Chicago).

Op-Ed

Howard A. Learner

Chicago Tribune Op-Ed: Seven Actions Brandon Johnson Must Prioritize for a Greener, More Sustainable Chicago

From trains and lead pipes to energy efficiency and the Great Lakes, here are a few top environmental priorities for Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson takes office on May 15. From budgets to education to public safety, his platter overflows with challenges and opportunities. Environmental progress is a key unifying issue. Polling consistently shows that Chicagoans across all communities strongly support building a sustainable, greener city that’s good for our environment and economy. Here are seven high-priority environmental actions for the mayor-elect and new City Council that are must-do’s.

1. Hold off a public transit crisis:

Chicagoans across the city rely on dependable, safe and affordable public transit to get to jobs, medical and social services, schools, family and fun. The CTA’s finances simply don’t work anymore, and a financial cliff looms as federal COVID-19 emergency funds run out in 2025. The problems are well-known: unreliable schedules, safety and smoking concerns, and a struggle to hire train operators.

The CTA’s outdated business model is built on commuters going to the Loop five days a week. That doesn’t reflect today’s new hybrid workplaces and a downtown that now spreads from State Street to the Fulton Street area. Farebox revenues are suffering, and the unwieldy RTA-CTA-Metra-Pace governance system should be reformed.

Read rest of the recommendations in the Chicago Tribune 

Howard A. Learner,

President and Executive Director

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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