Great Lakes Mayors Group Wants COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Relief

Nancy Harty
July 26, 2020 - 5:25 pm

    CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- As Congress continues to debate another economic stimulus package, a Great Lakes group -- Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative -- is pushing to get some of the relief. 

    Coronavirus is adding to challenges the Great Lakes region was already dealing with – including erosion, high water levels and invasive species.

    Listen Live Now on WBBM Newsradio

    Mike Vandersteen, the mayor of Sheboygan, Wisconsin and chairman of the Great Lakes group, said many communities are scaling back on infrastructure projects because they’ve lost tourism and tax dollars due to COVID-19.

    Related:

    The board has been setting up calls between Great Lakes mayors and their members of Congress to spell out their needs, which are estimated at $20 billion. 

    He called it a great investment that will help spur local economies, with a return of $6 for every dollar spent on mitigation, resilience and ecosystem restoration.

    The initiative is made up of 131 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including Chicago, Evanston, Highland Park and Waukegan.

    Without help from the federal government, Vandersteen said they’ll have to issue bonds or take on other debt.