Archive for December, 2009

The Northern Alternative

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Perhaps for NICTD it is a case of playing devil’s advocate, but if funded any study will move the project ahead. The City of Michigan City and NICTD are working together to get funding to study the northern alignment along the existing Amtrak line. Excerpts from a Michigan City News Dispatch article follow:

Mayor, NICTD to seek funds for South Shore study
Michigan City News Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY – Michigan City Mayor Chuck Oberlie said he will join the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District in seeking federal funds for a preliminary engineering study of the South Shore Line relocation that analyzes a northern corridor near the Amtrak line.

Mark Yagelski, county councilman and member of the NICTD board:

“NICTD has no problem with it (North End) if it can get the funding for it,” Yagelski said. “As earmarks are getting less and less, we’re looking for a process to finance this. We’re going to have to make some sound decisions and not keep talking.”

Yagelski cautioned that federally mandated changes have to be made by 2015, which is not far away.

John Parsons, NICTD planning and marketing manager:

The federal funding for 2010 already has been allocated, Parsons said, so the next few months will be critical in applying for funding available in 2011.

Parsons noted that NICTD’s own analysis of realigning the existing corridor or moving to the northern route showed that the cost of the northern route was three times higher because it requires a 9,000-foot elevation estimated to cost about $300 million.

Michigan City Mayor Chuck Oberlie:

Oberlie believes NICTD will be open to looking at both routes.

“My sense is NICTD is willing to look at routes that will not increase operating times, that reduce costs, that provide opportunities to increase ridership and that improve the safety of its riders and the general public,” he said.