Hammond council wants answers on South Shore

2014-03-10T21:30:00Z 2014-03-10T23:03:19Z Hammond council wants answers on South ShoreMatt Mikus matt.mikus@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com
March 10, 2014 9:30 pm  • 

HAMMOND | City Council members raised concerns Monday about the lack of information provided regarding the potential expansion of the South Shore commuter train line.

Councilman Bill Emerson Sr., D-4th District, said he had not received any information on expanding the commuter rail into West Lake County. He asked the council to compose a letter asking U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, to come answer questions at the next council meeting.

"I'm not opposed to having good transit," Emerson said, "but we should be provided all the information when the project is going through our city."

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said he didn't appreciate being left out of the details as Visclosky continues to push for the expansion.

"There's a guarantee that they'll take our money," McDermott said, "but there's no guarantee that they'll be any other stations in Hammond. We have no idea what the plans are."

Regional authorities like the RDA would not have to answer to voters if the commuter rail expansion fails, he added.

"I think we're doing the right thing by asking questions," he said.

Meanwhile, a new ordinance introduced Monday will allow the city court to collect fees for those who want to waive a traffic violation hearing.

Drivers facing a traffic violation could defer their hearing and possibly remove the incident from their record. The driver would pay a fine of $189.50, and the violation would be removed if they keep their record clean for six months.

The fine would cover the $79.50 in court fees, and the remaining amount would be split between the Lake County prosecutor's office and the Hammond City Court. 

The City Council urged state legislators to reconsider expanding Medicaid for Indiana, saying that providing health coverage could save between 250 to 750 lives.

"You have legislators who are pro-life in Indianapolis," said Councilman Homero Hinojosa, D-6th District, who sponsored the resolution, "but they are not in support of Medicaid? That makes no sense."

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