INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s governor is urging the Trump administration to include nearly $490 million in the new federal budget to upgrade and expand the South Shore commuter rail line that runs between northern Indiana and Chicago.

Work on the South Shore Line includes extending the rail between Hammond and Dyer as well as adding a second line between Gary and Michigan City, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

Gov. Eric Holcomb wrote a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao saying the projects will reduce commute times to Chicago and help bring more residents and businesses to the area.

“These projects have the capacity to truly transform Northwest Indiana by creating a catalyst for billions of dollars in private investment and thousands of high-paying, permanent jobs for Hoosiers,” Holcomb said.

The Hammond to Dyer extension is expected to cost $600 million, and the second track between Gary and Michigan City is estimated to cost $290 million.

The requested federal funding will add to local and state money already committed to the projects, which are a collaborative effort between 16 municipal governments, four counties and the state.

The projects will need to receive at least a medium rating from the federal government to qualify for Federal Transit Administration support. South Shore Line President Michael Noland said he expects the Hammond to Dyer extension to receive a medium high rating and the second track project to receive a high rating, which would put both projects in a good position to receive federal aid.

Ratings are expected to be released in February.


Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com