The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has received a matching grant for its South Shore double tracking project. The $1.6 million grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority will help fund preliminary engineering and environmental work.
The preliminary analysis, which will cost a total of $4 million, must be completed before the NICTD can seek funding from the Indiana Department of Transportation for the double tracking project. The NICTD is seeking additional funding from other partners in the region.
The double tracking project will add a second full track to the South Shore line from Gary to Michigan City, which the NICTD says will greatly reduce commuting times two and from Chicago.
"Expanding capacity on the existing South Shore line is critical to boosting the economy and creating new jobs here in Northwest Indiana," said Bill Hanna, president and CEO of the RDA. "Along with the West Lake Extension, double tracking will attract new residents, new businesses and new development to the region and put us on a sustainable, long-term path to growth."
The South Shore line currently has only a single track for both eastbound and westbound trains between Gary and Michigan City. This causes trains to slow or stop to allow a train traveling in the opposite direction to pass. The RDA says the double tracking project would allow South Shore to increase the number and speed of trains it runs each day.