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Report: Economic Stimulus Runs Out of Gas in IL This Week

June 26, 2008

Chicago, IL – Those economic stimulus checks sent out recently will run out of gas for average Illinois families by the end of this week, according to a report from the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.

Researcher Emily Miller reports families have spent $1,500 filling their fuel tanks since the stimulus program was signed into law in February. She says the promise that the money would stay in local economies hasn't come true.

"The money has not been pumped back into the economy in the way it was hoped. Instead, it's been pumped back into Big Oil."

The IPIRG report calls for more investment in public transportation to help Illinois residents keep rising gas prices from taking such a big chunk out of their monthly budgets.

Miller notes that as gas prices have risen, people have relied more on public transportation, and transit agencies have had a tough time keeping up. She believes projects like the expansion of the Red Line urban rail system in Chicago need a kick start.

"High gas prices will continue to hold consumers hostage until lawmakers implement long-term solutions that reduce our reliance on oil."

Critics of the report contend that economic stimulus money is being used for more than gasoline, and families would have spent about $1,000 on fuel during that time frame even if prices had stayed the same.

The IPIRG's report is online at www.illinoispirg.org.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - IL