20 Jan 2017

Indiana lawmakers look to develop South Shore Line

South Shore News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A state lawmaker is pushing for transit-oriented development projects in northwest Indiana. Rep. Hal Slager, a Republican from Schererville, is sponsoring a bill that would create a Sales Tax Increment Financing district within a half-mile of the tracks of the current South Shore rail.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times (http://bit.ly/2iOxWwV ) reports that the STIF would capture growth in sales tax revenues and provide funding to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, with the remainder given to the state. Under the plan, the authority would be able to give matching grants for transit-oriented development projects to northwest Indiana cities and towns that spend local tax funds or provide a portion of their county income tax revenues to support South Shore improvements. "The idea is to use the money for economic development within the corridor or to service the corridor," Slager said.

Slager said there wouldn't be any money at first, but that much more would be generated as the rail corridor develops and businesses locate near stations and new residences. The STIF would be effective through 2046. "By doing it this way, the state should make more money by (the corridor) developing sooner, and creating more sales taxes and income taxes from it," Slager said. "Then the communities benefit by increased local option income tax and property tax." Slager said he hopes the plan will encourage communities to get involved in the effort.

"All of these communities could participate with some creative development," Slager said. "If you were to create in your downtown a parking facility with some stores where maybe a shuttle could pick people up and take them to the train — that qualifies as servicing the line."

 Article by Associated Press. Click here to see the article on WBST Channel 22.