Governor Eric Holcomb joined officials in northwest Indiana on Wednesday to break ground on what is regarded as a transformational public transit project. When complete, the nearly $945 million West Lake Corridor project will extend commuter rail service on the South Shore Line to Chicago. “This is going to really help the northwest quadrant of our state become…an even more attractive place to invest and grow.”
During a groundbreaking ceremony, the governor said the synergy among local, state and federal partners was key to getting the project underway.
“It really shows the way and it doesn’t just show that it can be done; it shows how to get it done and how to get it done the right way,” said Holcomb. “This is one of those ‘all aboard’ moments not just for the region, but what it says to the rest of the state. This is truly an engine of our economy and a real model. And it’s going to connect communities in northwest Indiana like never before.”
As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, officials from the local, regional, state and federal levels signed the Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Federal Transit Administration and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which finalizes the full federal funding for the project.
The project is being funded by a nearly $355 million federal infrastructure grant, as well as nearly $255 million from the state and more than $335 million from local partners.
“Today we celebrate the beginning of the largest and most comprehensive economic development project in Indiana,” Bill Hanna, chief executive officer of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, said in a news release. “This is the kind of success, positive momentum and strong leadership that creates confidence in our market. This is a clear recognition of the value of Indiana’s gateway to Chicago and its future.”
The new eight-mile line will extend the South Shore Line from Hammond on the north to Dyer on the south. It will include four new stations, including two in Hammond, one in Munster and one in Dyer. A new maintenance facility will also be built on the north side of Hammond.
Holcomb calls the project a “game changer” for northwest Indiana and the entire state.
“This vital infrastructure project will immediately result in 1,000 well-paying construction jobs,” the governor said. “Unprecedented economic development in the region will now be possible as we connect Hoosiers, while also attracting talent and business to lower taxes, better quality of life and great communities in Indiana.”
Construction on the West Lake Corridor is expected to be complete in late 2024 with passenger service starting in early 2025.
Holcomb says the synergy among local, state and federal partners was key to getting the project underway.