South Shore Rail Project Moves Forward

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(Image of the South Shore Line courtesy of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.) (Image of the South Shore Line courtesy of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.)

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has taken another step toward landing funding for the West Lake Corridor expansion of the South Shore rail line. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the RDA Board of Directors has approved a governance agreement that will allow the Indiana Finance Authority to sell bonds to finance the effort.

The agreement must receive approve from the boards of directors of the IFA and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, meetings for which are scheduled for next week. It will then move to the State Budget Committee in mid-August.

The project is now estimated to cost more than $760 million, up from the original estimate of $600 million. The Times reports the higher number is part of the South Shore's request for a Federal Transit Administration grant and allows for the administration's contingency requirements to cover unexpected expenses and cost increases. 

If approved, the FTA grant would cover half the cost of construction. The remaining funding would come from state and local contributions, including $180 million approved by the Indiana General Assembly in 2015.

The West Lake Corridor Project will extend the South Shore commuter rail line service from Hammond to Dyer.

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