01 Feb 2017

NICTD board approves 2017 business plan

South Shore News

The State of Indiana will subsidize the South Shore commuter line by around $16 million this year, according to the 2017 business plan adopted by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s Board of Trustees at its meeting Friday morning. Trustees voted unanimously to approve that plan.

The plan projects the following:

  • Operating revenues from passenger fares of $22,865,000, plus $35,000 in parking fees.
  • Operating expenses of $49,279,784. Salaries, wages, and benefits account for 62 percent of that amount; traction power and utilities, 17 percent; equipment, material, and supplies, 9 percent; claims and insurance, 4 percent; professional services, 4 percent; and other, 4 percent. NICTD General Manager Michael Noland made note in particular of a “huge increase” in healthcare costs of 15 percent as well as wage increases.
  • An operating deficit of $26,379,784.
  • Non-operating revenues of $10,572,000, including federal maintenance grants of $5,200 000 and a Metra purchase of service from NICTD totaling $3,700,000.
  • A net deficit before state funding of $15,807,784.

Major capital projects in 2017 include continued work on the federally mandated positive train control; completion of the environmental and preliminary engineering for the double-tracking project and the West Lake Corridor Extension; and the installation of automatic gates at 19 grade-crossings, most of them in LaPorte County but a few in Porter County.

Other highlights of the 2017 business plan:

  • NICTD will continue to operate the Sunrise Express, Train 6, and its sister return train, Train 11.
  • The second phase of the two-phase fare hike--which will increase the cost of a one-way ticket by 2.5 percent will go into effect. The revenues from this hike will be reserved--as are those from last year’s 2.5-percent increase--for capital projects and federal grant matches.

Article by Kevin Nevers - Chesterton Tribune. Click here to see the article on Chesterton Tribune.