The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission is taking public comment on funding for an environmental impact study for the expansion of the South Shore commuter railroad to Dyer until April 10.
The environmental impact study is the first step in getting the project off the ground. Its estimated $3 million cost will be paid for by South Shore operator Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the federal government.
In order for the project to go forward, NIRPC must amend its Transportation Improvement Plan after taking public comment. There will be four public hearings, one in Munster and three in LaPorte County. The commission plans to vote on the amendment at its April 17 meeting.
Also included in the amendment to the Transportation Improvement Plan is a three-year demonstration grant for LaPorte County's planned "Triangle" transit service, which will connect Michigan City with LaPorte. The bus will run three round trips in the morning and three in the afternoon.
Operational costs will be paid by a federal grant of $892,370 and local contributions of $223,093. A new transit vehicle will also be bought using a $120,000 federal grant and $30,000 in local funds.
The service is being sponsored by Michigan City Public Transit, LaPorte Transporte, LaPorte County Board of Commissioners and Purdue University North Central, which will be one of the stops on the route.