Obama’s second term impact on Chicago - FOX 32 News Chicago

Obama’s second term may benefit Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some Presidents have used their second term to steer big projects and other federal largesse to their home states. Will that be on Barack Obama's agenda?

SEE: Celebrations linger in Chicago after Obama victory

Fox Chicago News Political Editor Mike Flannery has been talking to top officials here who hope the President will now deliver more than he did in his first four years.

Texas has NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. New York is littered with living memorials to favorite son Franklin D. Roosevelt. Where might Sasha and Malia Obama one day take their grandchildren to point with pride to something named after the current President? Mayor Emanuel has a few ideas. And he's not the only one.

If Rahm Emanuel were to write Santa Claus this season on behalf of Chicago, insiders told Fox Chicago News most of his gift requests would likely be found in here: a formal report of his Transition Team whose members included former City Hall Policy Chief MarySue Barrett.

"We need to invest in Union Station. We need to invest in Bus Rapid Transit. We need to invest in rehabilitation of our crumbling infrastructure," says Barrett.

The mayor's wish list includes billions of dollars more for new world-class schools and for housing; the CREATE rail project to speed up freight trains; express rail service between The Loop and O'Hare; and extending the CTA Red Line from 95th St. to 130th St.

Each of those remains a top priority of Mayor Emanuel, who said he treasures the memories of his work with and for President Obama.

"You look back on that. Those are special moments that, uh, you did something with your life that at some point in your life you've left your little thumb print on our larger society," Emanuel stated.

But warm memories alone will do nothing to solve looming budget crises at City Hall and the Illinois State capitol. A few subtle tweaks to federal funding formulas and regulations could be much more valuable.

"We'd be falling into a trap just to think about projects. It's also how we can use the money. A lot of the way the dollars flow from the federal level down to the local level, cities and regions, have strings attached," says Barrett.

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