U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., will be keynote speaker at a forum to promote the extension of the South Shore commuter railroad to Dyer at the Avalon Manor, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on March 10.
"Laying Tracks for the Future" is being sponsored by the recently created Emerging Leaders Network, which is joining the call for action on the long-talked about expansion of the South Shore.
The Emerging Leaders Network, a coalition of groups of young Northwest Indiana professionals, identified expanding the South Shore as priority at its first meeting in December, said Jeremy Miller, chief operating officer at the Lake Area United Way.
On March 10, those people and others can get the facts on where the effort now stands, Miller said.
"I would like to see this become like a social movement, the likes of which we've not seen in a long time, to get this project done," Miller said.
The event at the Avalon Manor will also feature Northwest Indiana professionals talking about how their lives would change with the expansion of the South Shore to Dyer.
To reserve a place, call Pat Thomas at (219) 923-2302 ext. 301 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 28.
A study commissioned by South Shore operator Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District shows the proposed eight-mile extension to Dyer would attract 5,600 riders daily.
Riders on the existing South Shore commuter railroad bring about $237.5 million in wages back to Northwest Indiana annually from well-paying jobs in Chicago's Loop, according to the same study. With the extension and other improvements planned for the existing South Shore route, that figure would increase by about $147.3 million.
Congressman Vislclosky is currently rallying local communities to support the South Shore extension by putting up a share of their receipts from Lake County's new County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT). The town of Munster has already answered that call by committing a portion of its CEDIT receipts to the expansion.