The U.S. Department
of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on its review of the
Environmental Assessment (EA) for the South Shore commuter line’s Double
Track NWI (DT-NWI) Project.
“This is a
significant milestone for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation
District (NICTD) that gives them the green light to continue developing this
regionally transformational project,” NICTD said in a statement released
today. “The project will result in reduced travel time, more frequent train
service, improved safety, and expanded connectivity between Northwest
Indiana and Chicago.” “The team at NICTD has worked hard to minimize the
project’s impact on the natural and human environment for the past two
years,” said Michael Noland, president of South Shore line. “We are thrilled
to reach this critically important milestone and advance the project in the
Capital Investment Grant process with the FTA,” he added.
The FONSI, which
was signed by FTA Regional Administrator, Kelley Brookins on Nov. 1, 2018,
is the environmental capstone decision-making document for the project,
NICTD said. “The FONSI outlines the determinations and findings of the
environmental analysis in compliance with the National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA), and includes information about the selection and modification of
the preferred alternative, analysis of impacts, environmental commitments,
and responses to public comments.”
The FONSI is
available for review at
www.doubletrack-nwi.com/docs and at NICTD’s offices at 33 E. U.S. 12.
Under the project,
a second track would be constructed between Virginia Street in Gary and E.
Michigan Blvd. in Michigan City, the South Shore line along 10th and 11th
Streets in Michigan City would be re-aligned, and 21 at-grade crossings will
be closed. It would also enhance the Gary/Miller, Portage/Ogden Dunes, Dune
Park, Beverly Shores, and 11th Street (Michigan City) Stations.