MICHIGAN CITY - The Michigan City Common Council has formally committed to contribute $12 million towards the proposed $416 million Double Track project for the South Shore commuter line. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the council voted unanimously to pay $7 million upfront and finance the remaining $5 million through a 20-year bond issue.

City officials said the money will come from the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission's tax increment financing district encompassing Dunes Plaza and other properties on the city’s south side.

As part of the project, the South Shore track that currently runs in the middle of several streets in Michigan City would be removed. The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District wants to add a second set of rails to a 16 mile stretch of single-track railbed from Gary to Michigan City, reducing the trip by approximately 30 minutes.

The city hopes by offering a shorter commute, more people will be willing to move to more-affordable northwest Indiana communities and still be able to work in downtown Chicago.

"That’s a lifestyle we think will resonate especially with the quality of life and affordability of Michigan City," said City Controller Richard Murphy.

According to The Times, South Shore officials expect the Federal Transit Administration to give the Double Track project a high enough rating in November to further the project through the FTA grant program process.

A project must rate at least "medium" to be eligible for funding consideration.