USDOT announces $173M grant for Indiana rail project

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced Thursday that it would be providing $173 million in grant funding for a second track project in northwest Indiana.

The FTA said it had reached a grant agreement with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) for the Double Track Northwest Indiana Project – a 26.6-mile second track for NICTD’s South Shore commuter rail line between Gary, Ind., and Michigan City, Ind.

“This $173 million federal grant agreement will lead to better access for Northern Indiana residents to jobs, education, and essential services,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

The project would improve transportation options for Indiana residents traveling from South Bend International Airport to downtown Chicago, the office said.

Funding for the grant would come from the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program and cover 35 percent of the project’s $491 million price tag.

“FTA is proud to join our partners in northern Indiana to improve mobility, reduce travel times and spur economic development along this corridor,” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. “Commuters on the South Shore Line can look forward to more efficient commuter rail service connecting them to downtown Chicago while supporting economic recovery.”

U.S. Sen. Todd Young applauded the announcement.

“This has been a game-changing infrastructure priority for Indiana for many years, so naturally, I am thrilled that our efforts have helped secure the full amount of federal funding required to complete the South Shore Line Double Track Project,” said Senator Young. “During her confirmation hearing in 2017, DOT Secretary Chao agreed to my request that she visit Indiana, which culminated months later in a meeting at the South Bend Airport to advocate for advancement of the project. Now, with its expected economic impact of $3 billion by 2048 and the creation of more than 6,000 new jobs, the completion of this and other Northwest Indiana infrastructure projects will benefit Hoosiers for years to come. I applaud everyone at the state and federal level who played a role in helping us reach this pivotal moment.”

The project is part of more than 40 new CIG projects funded by the program since 2017, totaling more than $10.7 billion in grants.