Chesterton Tribune



Northwest Indiana Forum tells its 2017 legislative priorities

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The Northwest Indiana Forum (NIF) outlined its 2017 legislative priorities on Wednesday, Jan. 11, during a reception in Indianapolis for the Northwest Indiana legislative delegation.

Fifteen legislators, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger, and other elected officials attended the event.

“Exciting projects are taking shape that will dramatically improve the economic development landscape in Northwest Indiana,” said NIF President and CEO Heather Ennis. “Our region is coming together stronger and more prepared than ever before to improve our infrastructure that will create opportunities for this and future generations.”

NIF takes positions on issues that its membership determines will have an effect on the development and creation of a strong globally competitive economy in Northwest Indiana.

Its 2017 legislative agenda:

*  Investment in commuter rail expansion and infrastructure: “With Northwest Indiana's proximity to the nation's third largest economy, the continued investment in commuter rail will provide the means to retain and attract a talented workforce as residents of Northwest Indiana,” NIF said.

*  Transportation infrastructure: NIF “recognizes the need to provide long term planning and funding of local and state transportation infrastructure projects as a critical component to the success of economic development in Indiana.”

*  Economic development incentive programs: NIF “recognizes that economic development tools are critical to the attraction, retention, and expansion of regional businesses while allowing consideration for flexible local control.”

*  Workforce development: NIF “supports providing public funding for assistance to businesses for training, maintaining, and upgrading the skills of their new or incumbent employees.”

*  Infrastructure improvements in the higher education sector: NIF “supports funding for the Purdue University Northwest Bioscience Innovation Building from the State of Indiana. The funding plan for the construction of the building is $40.5 million.”

*  Permanent funding of the Regional Cities Initiatives grant program: NIF “supports legislative action to incorporate inclusion of a permanent funding source for Regional Cities Initiative grant dollars within the State of Indiana’s biennial budget.”

*  Continued support for the Coalition for the Improvements of U.S. 30: NIF “supports the continued study efforts of U.S. Highway 30 as a freeway without grade crossings from Ind. 49 east to the Ohio/Indiana state line.”



Posted 1/16/2017




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