Chicago Tribune: Delays Can Cost the City a Lot
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Posted by: Hilary Korabik
The following Letter to the Editor was published in the Chicago Tribune on March 8, 2019.
Delays can cost the city a lot...
Chicago has always been a place that has embraced a challenge and a city that has led the way in the global economy, but lately, critics of new developments here have been trying to stop the progress that Chicago desperately needs to stay competitive. Specifically, anti-development groups have tried to block everything from Lincoln Yards to The 78, from the Obama Presidential Center to the expansion of O’Hare International Airport. Shortsighted activists have already managed to kill major opportunities for Chicago, including the Lucas Museum, and have delayed the development of new buildings, including 400 N. Lake Shore Drive.
I can attest firsthand to how development projects like these have created the good-paying jobs our residents need, including opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses. Projects of this scale are further needed to generate new tax revenue, maintain a sustainable long-term tax base, and invest in existing and future infrastructure, including our roads, bridges and public transportation. And they are an opportunity to generate significant economic activity for Chicago, while maintaining our position as a global destination for companies looking to relocate and visitors looking to explore the city.
Over the course of this monthslong election season, there’s been a refrain from obstructionists: “Why not just wait?” But in life, as in business, timing is everything. We don’t know when the next economic downturn may come or when the next big opportunity may come along. But we know that change is the only inevitability. As the pace of change accelerates, cities cannot wait around during an election cycle. They instead must work harder to anticipate and build for the needs of future businesses, workers and residents. We also elected our current mayor and City Council to serve the entirety of their term, so the idea that Chicago’s elected officials should stop working is an insult to the voters who elected them.
If we sit on the sidelines, our city’s bright economic potential — and the opportunity to improve our beloved city — will fade. I believe Chicagoans deserve more.
— Daniel McLaughlin, Executive Director, Chicagoland Associated General Contractors