The West Lake Corridor Rail Project appears to be on the fast track.
The U.S. Department of Transportation on May 29 announced the project, which involves construction of a new eight-mile rail line extending from Hammond on the north to Dyer in the south, with four new stations, will receive $100 million in federal dollars through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program and potentially may be viewed as an advance on the requested $355 million in federal money sought for the project.
The announced $100 million for the West Lake project was part of $177.5 million in federal dollars Indiana is receiving through the program this year. The remaining funds are going toward The IndyGo Purple Rapid Transit Line, a 14.8-mile Bus Rapid Transit line to be constructed by the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp. between downtown Indianapolis and downtown Lawrence.
The CIG program provides funding for major transit infrastructure capital investments nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process to be considered for eligibility, according to the government.
Work continues on the Double Track Northwest Indiana Project, which could begin construction sometime in 2021 and take at least two years to finish.
This project involves improvements to more than 26 miles of track from Gary to Michigan City. It includes installation of a second mainline track, improvements at five stations, expansion of parking lots for more than 1,300 new parking spaces, and nine new platforms.
The Double Track project also includes safety improvements in Michigan City, where the rail will be separated from the roadway and 21 at-grade crossings will be closed, according to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, operator of the South Shore Line. The project is expected to more than double existing South Shore Line ridership and reduce travel times for all riders travelling east of Gary.
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