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Rahm Emanuel details plans to expand city’s bike network

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emmanuel held press conference  January 30 2011 Rapid Transit Cycleshop January 30 2011 1900 W. North

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emmanuel held a press conference on January 30, 2011 at Rapid Transit Cycleshop on January 30, 2011 at 1900 W. North ave. in Chicago . On the right is one of the owners of the bike shop, Justyna Frank. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: March 1, 2011 1:40AM

Rahm Emanuel detailed his plans to expand Chicago’s bicycle network at a Wicker Park bike shop on Sunday, but couldn’t get away from defending what opponent Gery Chico called the “Rahm Tax” on luxury services.

Emanuel detailed the three-point agenda at the Rapid Transit Cycleshop, which includes adding 25 miles of bike lanes a year, leaving Chicago with 100 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of a first mayoral term.

Other plans include the creation of the Bloomingdale Trail, a $75 million 2.65 mile trail built along Bloomingdale Avenue on the Northwest Side to accommodate commuters hoping to get Downtown, and for children in the area to get to and from 12 nearby schools. Emanuel said he would also push for a city ordinance to require certain Downtown buildings offer protected bike storage facilities to increase the number of bikers.

But the topic was abruptly shifted as Emanuel addressed Chico’s claims Emanuel’s plan to cut 20 percent in sales taxes would impose a tax on too many services, including hair cuts and day care services.

“I’ve been very clear and I will be consistently clear. A working mother today or a working class family is paying one of the highest sales tax in the country here in the City of Chicago,” Emanuel said. “You rent a limo, you don’t pay. You rent a private charter jet, you don’t pay. You join Saddle & Cycle, a private club here in the City of Chicago — very exclusive — you don’t pay.”

Emanuel said Chico had agreed with his plans to cut the sales tax two weeks ago at the WTTW-Mikva Challenge debate.

“I stand firmly on the side of the working class, middle class family with 20 percent reduction in the sales tax — and at one moment, I thought this was a point Gery Chico and I agreed with,” Emanuel said. “We did two weeks ago, until we now disagree.”

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