To move this project forward, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), operator of the South Shore Line (SSL), initiated a study to assess the potential impacts of the Double Track Northwest Indiana project on the man-made and natural environments. This effort builds on prior and current planning studies in Michigan City and for the Miller/Lake Street Station in Gary. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and NICTD prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Section 4(f) Evaluation to identify any impacts that the project may have on the human and natural environment.

The EA process is necessary to meet National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements and advance the project in the FTA’s Core Capacity funding program. An environmental review must be completed for NICTD to receive potential federal funding for the project. The Section 4(f) Evaluation is necessary to comply with the requirements of Sections 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

The formal public comment period occurred in 2017. The EA process is nearly complete as of January 2018. NICTD expects that the FTA will prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in February 2018. A FONSI is required for the project to advance.

NICTD also submitted the project for a formal Project Rating with the FTA in September 2017. NICTD currently awaits the FTA’s rating – which must be “medium” or higher – before the project can progress in the federal funding pipeline. The project must also be listed in FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations (FY 2019) to advance. NICTD expects to hear about the Project Rating and whether Double Track NWI is listed in the Annual Report on Funding Recommendations in February 2018 (yet delays could occur at the federal level). NICTD will post updated information here once these critical details are known.

The EA and Section 4(f) Evaluation is available for public review at: Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation

Please submit your comments at