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Where’s the evidence Chicago can afford — or even needs — One Central?

Giving $6.5 billion of our tax dollars to a private developer to fund a development that is based on wild guess projections is a huge mistake.

One Central development
The massive One Central development — seen in an artist’s rendering — that’s proposed just west of Soldier Field would include several high-rise buildings with offices, residences, retail space and a hotel.
Landmark Development

One can read Ray LaHood’s opinion piece on One Central and only think, when did LaHood join Landmark Development’s payroll? While LaHood, a former U.S. secretary of transportation, enthusiastically touts the benefits of public-private partnerships, he glosses right over several concerning aspects of the ONE Central proposal.

First, LaHood doesn’t mention the amount of tax dollars Bob Dunn is seeking for his private development — $6.5 billion — in a time when Illinois and Chicago are in fiscal crisis. Is giving this amount of tax money to a private developer really a good idea?

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LaHood and Dunn like to say that money is an investment and will return jobs and wealth. Really? For whom? What studies show this to be the case? Can anyone demonstrate how giving this amount of money to a private developer is going to directly benefit underserved neighborhoods on the South and West sides of Chicago?

LaHood’s exuberance for Dunn’s proposed transit center is not backed up by any evidence there is even a demand for the project. He says it will create 70,000 permanent jobs. Wow. Really? What study shows this to be the case? What study shows there is a need for a transit center in that proposed location? In fact, many experts question why anyone would locate a transit center at that location. Even the Chicago Department of Planning and Development seems to have a lot of questions about this that Dunn has yet to answer.

We definitely need major infrastructure spending and proactive investment in long-ignored areas of Chicago. Giving $6.5 billion of our tax dollars to a private developer to fund a development that is based on wild-guess projections is a huge mistake.

Anthony R. Hipp, South Loop

Beware of large government spending bills

The Sun-Times editorial board sees Biden’s new infrastructure plan as just what we need for our country.

Two images come quickly to my mind.

One is that of a young couple with a handful of credit cards who get everything they need and want and hope for, who then make the minimum monthly payments on them for the rest of their lives.

The other is of one of those ads you might see on television or in the Sunday papers where they have something you really like that is only so much a month, and where, if you figure out the true cost of it, you realize you are paying way more than what you need to pay for the same thing elsewhere.

Look through the bill. Sure, it has a lot of wonderful things and then a lot of money for nothing. Add it together and you are paying double for all those good things you want.

Beware of large government spending bills. They are wasting your money on overpriced things that cost half the price if you bought it on your own. And don’t forget the hidden costs of inflation from government overspending and the costs of paying for that debt.

Larry Craig, Wilmette