Gov. Eric Holcomb says the $ 649 million South Shore Double Track project will be a “huge magnet” for growth in northwest Indiana. Federal, state and local officials began this morning on a project that will add 18 miles of new runway along the southern coastline between Michigan City and Gary. The additional track is expected to reduce travel time between Michigan City and Millennium Park in Chicago by 33 minutes.
Speaking to reporters after the first sod, Holcomb said the project would benefit local authorities in the region.
“This allows local officials across this corridor to plan for this growth and gives them the opportunity not only to determine but also to shape their own destiny,” Holcomb said. “The excitement that this caused because it is now a reality – it’s just not a plan or a lofty goal – there is skin in the game [at the] local, state and federal levels to see this not just happen but come true.
In addition to the new runway, the project will add four bridges and eight new platforms, a new contact system and more than 1,400 parking spaces, as well as the removal of street tracks and the elimination of 20 level crossings.
The project is funded by $ 197 million in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Rescue Program. The remaining funds include $ 340 million in government funding, $ 80 million in local funding and up to $ 30 million from the North Indiana Public Transportation District, which runs the South Shore Line.
“Double tracking of the South Shore Line unlocks the true potential of this railroad and opens up significantly improved services from Northwest Indiana to Chicago and back,” Michael Noland, president of the South Shore Line, said in writing. “Reliability, more frequent service options, reduced time to market and improved safety are vital to long-term success and will lead to huge economic growth.”
Gov. Holcomb’s office says the project, combined with the expansion of the West Lake corridor on the southern shoreline, is a project to generate about $ 2.7 billion in private investment in northwest Indiana and create more than 6,000 jobs and $ 5 billion economic impact until 2048
The West Lake expansion is a $ 945 million project that will extend the southern coastline south of Hammond to Dyer. Work on the project is underway and is expected to be completed by 2025.
Holcomb calls this effort “A cooler story right in front of our eyes.”
“To be the state’s northwest quadrant to our country’s third-largest economy and to crave more talent and new Hoosiers, this is the biggest project we’ve seen in more than a generation,” Holcomb said. “To add to this equation, the investments we make in broadband, in paths, in roads, in airports and in our water ports, all these pieces of the puzzle come together to make us more than just a crossroads of America; we are truly the epicenter where trade and housing can not only meet expectations, but exceed them. ”
Construction of the Double Track project is expected to be completed in early 2024, with passenger service starting later that year. Once up and running, the service will run every 16 minutes during weekday peak periods and approximately every 75 minutes during weekday off-peak periods and evenings.