South Shore Double Track Project Takes Major Step Forward in Federal Grant Process

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), operator of the South Shore Line railroad, has formally requested entry into the New Starts engineering phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program for the Double Track Northwest Indiana project. The project is a priority for Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) and the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA).

The Double Track project includes installation of a second main line track from Gary to Michigan City, Indiana. The project includes 17 miles of new track, four new bridges, station and parking improvements at five South Shore Line stations, street-running track removal, new track installation that is separated from the roadway in Michigan City and closes 21 at-grade crossings in Michigan City. These investments will deliver reliability, shorter travel times, increased frequency and enhanced safety.

”The Double Track project will transform the physical and economic landscape of the northwest Indiana region and catalyze growth in communities served by the South Shore Line,” said Michael Noland, NICTD President and Chief Executive Officer. “This project is uniquely positioned to move forward with federal support because our exemplary partnership model includes local and state investment.”

NICTD and its partners have worked closely with the FTA to deliver on the requirements for the CIG program, including:

  • Selected a locally preferred alternative
  • Adopted local partnership agreements into the fiscally constrained metropolitan
    transportation plan
  • Completed the environmental review process
  • Prepared sufficient information for FTA to develop a project rating
  • Obtained commitment of at least 30 percent of the non-CIG funding
    Completed at least 30 percent design and engineering, including documentation at
    appropriate level of detail

NICTD and its partners continue working with state and federal partners to advance the second major commuter rail expansion project in the region—the West Lake Corridor project—an 8- mile extension of the South Shore Line from Hammond to Dyer.

“These projects will be game-changers for the region and the state,” said Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA. “By increasing our connectivity to Chicago, the third-largest metro area in the country, commuter rail will drive job creation and economic development in northwest Indiana.”

According to the most recent update of the RDA’s Comprehensive Strategic Plan, the Double Track and West Lake Corridor projects may attract approximately $2.3 billion in private investment to northwest Indiana, create more than 6,000 new jobs and provide $3 billion in economic impact by 2048.

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