Chesterton Tribune

 

 

South Shore receives $50.6M from feds for double track project

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The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), operator of the South Shore commuter line, is announcing an allocation of $50.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program for the Double Track Northwest Indiana (Double Track) project.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda includes the Double Track Project, which spans the 26-mile stretch of line between Gary and Michigan City. The project includes installation of a second mainline track, improvements at five stations, over 1,300 new parking spaces, and nine new platforms. Significant safety improvements will also be made in Michigan City, where the rail will be separated from the roadway and 21 at-grade crossings will be closed.

The project is expected to more than double existing South Shore Line ridership and reduce travel times.

“From the first day I learned about this project, I knew Double Tracking the South Shore Line was essential to helping unlock and unleash the true potential power of Northwest Indiana,” Holcomb said. “My sincerest thanks to our friends in the White House, Congressional delegation, and to all those in the FTA who carefully scrutinized the Double Track Project and its companion project, the West Lake Corridor Project. Reaching this conclusion and providing this level of funding for both transformational projects sends an equally powerful message about Indiana’s future economic growth and opportunity.“

The FTA’s allocation of $50.6 million is in advance of an expected Full Funding Grant Agreement in 2021.

 “This announcement is such a great shot in the arm for the Double Track Project and a recognition by the FTA that this project merits their investment,” NICTD President and CEO Michael Noland said. “We’ve long known of the tremendous opportunity that Double Track creates and it’s so exciting to see that the FTA shares in our enthusiasm. To receive two awards of advance funding from the FTA in a three-month period of time, $50.6 million for Double Track and $100 million for West Lake, is remarkable and the culmination of the hard work, effort, and commitment of so many people. We can’t wait to start construction and move both of these projects from the drawing board to reality.”

“New investments that will benefit our communities will be driven by positive momentum and strong leadership that creates confidence in our market,” said Bill Hanna, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Regional Development Authority. “This latest announcement from our partners at the FTA reflects confidence in Governor Holcomb and the many leaders throughout Indiana who are working hand-in-hand to take us to the next level. It is a clear recognition of the value of the gateway to Chicago, Northwest Indiana.”

In addition to the Double Track Project, NICTD, the RDA, and the Indiana Finance Authority will continue to work with state and federal authorities on advancing towards federal funding for the second major commuter rail expansion project in the region, the West Lake Corridor Project. This project involves construction of a new eight-mile line extending from the South Shore line in Hammond to Dyer, with four new stations: a gateway station in north Hammond, a station at 173rd street in Hammond, a station at Ridge Road in Munster, and a station at the border of Munster and Dyer off Main Street. In addition, a new light maintenance facility will be built in north Hammond. The West Lake Corridor project is expecting a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the FTA this fall.

Combined, the Double Track Northwest Indiana and West Lake Corridor projects are projected to attract approximately $2.3 billion in private investment to Northwest Indiana and result in over 6,000 new jobs and $3 billion in economic impact by 2048.

For additional information regarding these projects, visit nictdwestlake.com  and doubletrack-nwi.com/

 

Posted 8/31/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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