How it Works

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust was created in April 2012 by executive order of Mayor Emanuel and City Council resolution.  The Trust’s purpose is to assist the people of the City of Chicago, the City government and its sister agencies in providing alternative financing and project delivery options for transformative infrastructure projects.  To accomplish this, the Trust structures innovative financing strategies to attract capital from a diverse group of investors.  The Trust also achieves real risk transfer to third-party investors, creating efficient capital structures via cross-agency financing.

Key Events in the Formation of the Trust

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Mayor Emanuel announces creation of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust.


Trust is formed via City Council resolution, following executive order promulgated the previous day.


Trust Board of Directors is named: Chairman James Bell, retired executive vice president and CFO of Boeing Co.; Vice Chair John Pope, Alderman, 10th Ward; Diana Ferguson, former CFO at Sara Lee Foodservice; David Hoffman, former City inspector general and partner, Sidley Austin, LLP; Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor.


Initial Board of Directors meeting of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust takes place.


Board of Directors meeting. Six-member advisory board named: MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council; David A. Dohnalek, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, Boeing Co.; Stephanie D. Neely, Treasurer, City of Chicago; Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel for the AFL-CIO; Latasha Thomas, Alderman, 17th Ward; Tom Villanova, President, Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council.


Steve Beitler is named CEO, following a three month search by Spencer Stuart.


Trust receives unsolicited proposals for Aquatic Centers Retrofit and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) initiatives.


Trust issues RFP for its first initiative, the Municipal Buildings Retrofit.


Trust Board of Directors approves Municipal Buildings Retrofit.


Municipal Buildings Retrofit transaction closes.


Trust Board of Directors approves Aquatic Centers Retrofit.


Trust Board of Directors approves PACE initiative and CTA 4G Distributed Antenna System.

What’s Infrastructure?

To better understand the Trust, we need to be on the same page regarding what’s infrastructure.  For our purposes, infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. These can be further divided into “hard” and “soft” infrastructure.



The Trust will address hard infrastructure and soft infrastructure opportunities, both of which could be brownfield (renovation of current assets) or greenfield (creation of new assets) projects.

The Role of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust

The Trust provides focus and leadership to maintain a pipeline of executable projects that will meet Chicago’s infrastructure needs and attract private investment.  By tapping into funding from private investors for infrastructure projects, the City of Chicago achieves the following:

  • Improve service to the people of Chicago and provide better access to facilities
  • Harness the potential of private funding to expand / accelerate infrastructure development / improvement beyond the capacity of public funds and City resources
  • Create jobs directly through project execution and / or by facilitating economic expansion
  • Generate incremental revenue for the City from underutilized assets
  • Reduce operating overhead of the City