Chesterton Tribune



Holcomb announces construction to begin on South Shore Double Track Project

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Holcomb announces construction to begin

on South Shore Double Track Project

INDIANAPOLIS Gov. Eric J. Holcomb has announced nearly $173 million in federal funding that will allow construction to begin on the expansion of the South Shore rail line to a double track, a decades-long priority for the region. 

The $491 million project, which is a part of Gov. Holcomb's Next Level Agenda, will speed passenger rail service between Gary and Michigan City as well as make critical safety improvements at grade crossings and platform improvements at five stations.

"By improving commuter rail through the region, the project is a game changer for northwest Indiana and the entire state," Gov. Holcomb said. "Combined with our recent announcement on the West Lake Corridor project, double tracking the South Shore line will connect Hoosiers, attract talent and business, and increase quality of life in our great Indiana communities."

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) have signed the Full Funding Grant Agreement. This agreement finalizes the full federal funding for the project through the FTA's Capital Investment Grant (CIG).

Gov. Holcomb, Indiana's Congressional delegation, members of the Indiana General Assembly, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and local elected leaders worked with NICTD to provide funding and leadership for the project. The state has committed nearly $200 million and locals have partnered to commit nearly $120 million.

"FTA is proud to join our partners in northern Indiana to improve mobility, reduce travel times and spur economic development along this corridor," said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. "Commuters on the South Shore Line can look forward to more efficient commuter rail service connecting them to downtown Chicago, while supporting economic recovery."

The Double Track Northwest Indiana Project, which spans over 26 miles from Gary to Michigan City includes installation of a second mainline track, improvements at five stations, expansion of parking lots for over 1,300 new parking spaces, and nine new platforms. Significant safety improvements will 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 for all riders travelling east of Gary.

The Double Track Northwest Indiana Project is a unique partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, Michigan City and LaPorte County, South Bend and St. Joseph County, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) and the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA), who are serving as funding partners.

The SS Double Track funding agreement closely follows a federal funding agreement for the West Lake Corridor project. 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.

"Today's announcement highlights what Governor Holcomb and all of our dedicated leaders can accomplish on behalf of our region when we work together.  This significant investment in our transportation infrastructure will create new good-paying jobs and positive, collective economic impact throughout our entire region. Let us continue to look for opportunities to create partnerships between federal, state, and local government entities and stakeholders to build an economy that works for everyone," Congressman Frank Mrvan said.

"Reduced travel time and more frequent service options have been top priorities for those who rely on South Shore Line service. They, along with important safety enhancements, are vital to the long-term success of commuter rail operations from South Bend to Chicago. Today's award of a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration, clearly establishes that our partners at the FTA fully share in our region's priorities and economic future. Our profound gratitude to Governor Holcomb for his unwavering leadership to get us to this great day, along with our entire congressional delegation, leadership in the General Assembly, our local elected officials in our four county service area, community stakeholders and loyal South Shore Line riders for this tremendous team effort," said Mike Noland, President of NICTD/South Shore Line.



Posted 1/8/2021




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