Jobs & Economic Development

Bringing Jobs and Economic Development for Chicagoans

Restoring the natural divide between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basin will be an economic boost for the greater Chicago region. Hydroseparation can be incorporated into regional improvements the city is already developing in areas of mobility, green infrastructure and water quality. These improvements will provide jobs in transportation, construction and clean technology leading to increased property values and revenue from tourism and recreation. Additionally, there is regional, national, and international interest for permanent barriers within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), which means there are opportunities to get federal resources to move these infrastructure changes forward and stimulate the economy.

Green Jobs

  • Disinfection and the settlement with MWRD will result in jobs in green infrastructure (GI) which create cleaner water.
  • Hydroseparation plans as proposed by the GLC/GLCIS study call for GI and updates to our current stormwater and sewer management. These steps will create jobs.
  • Hydroseparation will result in changes in freight transport. These changes can be easily incorporated into ongoing improvements in mobility, as outlined by Chicago Regional Environmental and Transit Efficiency Program (CREATE). CREATE is already generating railroad and construction jobs; including hydroseparation in its planning and execution will add to this job creation.

Transportation

  • To maintain its status as a national an global transportation hub, and boost its economy, Chicago invests in its prime location, and must continue to do so. The time has come to invest again.
  • Only 4% of Chicago’s cargo comes by barge. Most of it is coal headed towards two power plants scheduled for shut down. This manner of transporting goods within the city is a relic of the past.
  • We need to continue to invest in our location and work alongside the CREATE program to streamline our rail system. An integral part of this streamlining should be creating inter-modal facilities for freight transfer at barrier locations.

Boosting tourism

  • As we clean up Chicago’s “backyard” it will become a destination spot for shoppers, tourists and others who stroll along the river’s edge and eat dinner on a patio overlooking the water.
  • Although at least one barrier will probably be devoted to freight transport, the other barriers can be bridges connecting parks and new development along the river.
  • Eco-tourism. We can become the nation’s greenest city. This designation will bring visitors to watch egrets hunt for fish along the river and to kayak between bioswales.

Revitalize Southside

  • The southside has been forgotten in the city’s plans to revitalize its lakefront and urban center. Separation is an excellent opportunity to bring jobs to the area and to repurpose industrial wastelands.
  • Permanent barriers can be bridges connecting southside communities, a vision compatible with the recently announced Millennium Reserve Plan that will connect the Lake Calumet region through bike and water trails.

Opportunities to get federal resources

  • The Great Lakes region is already investing money to keep carp out, but the steps have been temporary and incomplete.
  • A permanent solution would benefit the entire region. Many states and Canadian provinces recognize the need to find a permanent solution.
  • The people of Chicago have inspiring visions for the city. All we need to do is leverage the funds to get it done.

Reduce costs from invasive species

  • Stop wasting money on temporary solutions like the electric fence, costing $20 million per year.
  • Start reaping economic benefits that come from fewer invasions of non-native species. Researchers have estimated that the zebra mussel invasion resulted in 267 million dollars in total economic costs for electric generation and water treatment facilities through late 2004, since 1989. The next invasive could be as costly or more costly to try to control it and to pay for the damage it causes. There is no certainty that we can control these invasives.
  • It is much cheaper to be proactive, rather than reactive.