15 Mar 2017

RDA formalizes $21.6 million commitment to South Shore work

South Shore News

MERRILLVILLE — The Regional Development Authority board of directors entered into contracts Thursday with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District to fund ongoing engineering and environmental work on the West Lake Corridor and Double Track NWI projects.

 The RDA committed last year to grants of up to $20 million for the West Lake project and $1.6 million for Double Track. Thursday's action approved contracts enabling the grants to be paid. The Double Track grant will be added to $800,000 each from the Northern Indiana RDA on behalf of St. Joseph County, LaPorte County and Michigan City. NICTD is also contributing $800,000.

The grants will take the engineering and environmental work to the point they can be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration late this summer. The agency will assign the project a rating, which is a key part of winning federal funds to pay half the cost of each project. 
After Thursday's meeting, South Shore President and General Manager Michael Noland said work on both projects is on track to meet the summer deadline. "We are well into the second phase of the engineering," he said. Work is continuing at different levels in structural, geo-technical, utility, track and station design and other engineering areas. In addition to a Final Environmental Impact Statement for West Lake and an Environmental Assessment for Double Track, the work will detail engineering, operational and financial plans necessary for the FTA rating.

If successful, the rating process would allow the South Shore to begin final engineering that would lead to funding agreements for the projects, with planned completion of Double Track NWI in 2019 and the West Lake Corridor in 2022.

 Article by Andrew Steele- NWI Times. Click here to see the article on NWI Times.