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South Shore Double Track project gets additional federal funding

CHESTERTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has received a nearly $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for its South Shore Rail Line double track project. The money is on top of an approximately $50 million grant NICTD received in August.

While the Federal Transit Administration has allocated the funds, NICTD President Mike Noland says it is not “money in the bank.” However, he says the $100 million does indicate the FTA is still supportive of the project and is advancing toward a Full Funding Grant Agreement.

He hopes to hear from FTA in “early 2021” about the full funding.

Noland says NICTD has completed developing the engineering plans for the 26.6-mile rail project which will add a second set of South Shore Line tracks from Gary to Michigan City.

The $460 million project will also include an upgrade to passenger stations along the route, adding capacity and speeding the trip to downtown Chicago.

Meanwhile, Noland says NICTD will be going out for bids in January for a project contractor. If everything remains on schedule, Noland expects construction to start in June.

The money the South Shore received is part of a total of $544 million in federal funding allocated by the FTA for several transit infrastructure projects in Arizona, California, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Utah.