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George Lake Trail

A bike crossing is shown where the George Lake Trail crosses White Oak Avenue in Whiting. The trail makes up part of the Illinois-to-Michigan Marquette Greenway.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission intends to take a second shot at a federal grant to help pay for the completion of the Marquette Greenway, an ambitious project to complete a 58-mile recreational trail from Illinois to Michigan through the Region.

The grant would come from the new Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, program. The 2018 federal budget has made $1.5 billion available for the program, which replaced the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program created during the Obama administration.

Mitch Barloga, NIRPC's active transportation planner, said the commission is applying for $23 million to help finance about 30 miles of the greenway. The amount is about $1 million less than the commission applied for in the last round of TIGER grants.

"Some projects have been modified, and we also received some money from Four Winds Casino in Michigan," Barloga said of the lower figure this round.

The 2017 TIGER awards went to 41 projects, two-thirds in rural areas, an emphasis of the Trump administration that the Department of Transportation said will continue with the BUILD program, though much more money will be available — the $1.5 billion is three times the previous TIGER appropriation.

Grants are available for surface transportation projects. Applications are due July 19. Barloga said he doesn't expect grant awards to be announced before December.


Transportation Reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.