N.W. Indiana Regional Development Agency Agrees to Help Fund South Shore Expansion

The board of directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has approved spending $20 million to help fund an expansion of South Shore Line commuter rail service.

South Shore logoThe money will go toward development of the West Lake Corridor by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates the South Shore.

The development authority plans to sponsor a study of transit-oriented development best practices in order for the region to be able to capitalize on an expanded commuter-rail connection to Chicago.

That study will cost up to $475,000 with $150,000 of it coming from a grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

During a meeting last week the regional authority received an update to its comprehensive strategic plan that gives a blueprint for rail expansion in northwest Indiana.

Among the findings of the updated plan are cost, benefits, and fiscal and economic impacts of commuter-rail expansion:

• Construction of the West Lake Corridor and double-tracking the existing South Shore line from Gary to Michigan City will support  2,000 construction jobs during the construction period from 2018 to 2022. The improvements to the South Shore system are projected to create about 5,700 permanent jobs in Lake and Porter counties by 2046.

• The West Lake Corridor will increase the South Shore’s daily ridership from about 14,500 now to more than 21,000. Completion of the double-tracking project will boost ridership to over 24,000.

• The economic activity generated by the commuter-rail investments will produce within 20 years additional revenue for the State of Indiana that is more than four times the state’s annual financial commitment.

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One Response to “N.W. Indiana Regional Development Agency Agrees to Help Fund South Shore Expansion”

  1. jbcowgill Says:

    Reblogged this on John Cowgill's Literature Site.

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