Visclosky Announces Deal Reached on Indiana Gateway, $71.3 Million for Rail Improvements

Sep 12, 2012 Issues: Jobs and Economy

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Pete Visclosky announced the award of over $71.3 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation via the Federal Railroad Administration to the State of Indiana for the Indiana Gateway project, an effort to reduce congestion and improve the flow of goods and people through Northwest Indiana.

The funds, originally allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will address critical needs on the Norfolk Southern Railroad’s Chicago Line and the Amtrak Michigan Line. The work, which will be carried out by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), will include track relocation, track reconfiguration, high-speed crossovers, and improvements to signal systems. It will also allow for minor rail additions and a new parallel passing siding.

Mark Maassel, President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, signaled his excitement for the project and the boost it would give to Northwest Indiana’s economy as a whole. Mr. Maassel said, “We are truly pleased to see the funding for these projects move ahead, as they will dramatically improve the ease with which train traffic will move through Northwest Indiana.”

Northwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades Union Business Manager Randy Palmateer explained that the investments in infrastructure will help working families by creating new jobs and strengthening the jobs already in Northwest Indiana. Mr. Palmateer said, “Thanks to the Indiana Gateway project, working families in Northwest Indiana will be able to count on good-paying jobs and a strong infrastructure that will support a thriving economy long into the future. Projects like this are good for workers, good for business and good for Northwest Indiana’s long-term economic growth.”

Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo explained that the investments will enable Northwest Indiana to leverage its potential as a transit hub, improve productivity and encourage job growth. “No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows,” he said. “The investment we’re making in Indiana today will eliminate chokepoints and help both people and goods get where they need to go faster and more efficiently. It’s all part of President Obama’s vision of an America built to last.”

Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority President and CEO, Bill Hanna, agreed that the Indiana Gateway project will reduce congestion and improve travel times. Mr. Hanna added that the agreement on Indiana Gateway would enhance the attraction of Northwest Indiana as a destination for businesses and jobs.

Mr. Hanna said, “The Indiana Gateway Project will provide much-needed rail improvements in Northwest Indiana, which is one of the most congested rail corridors in the country. It will speed travel times for freight and passenger trains and provide greater access to Chicago for both people and goods. Projects like this create jobs immediately, boost long-term career opportunities for residents and make the region itself more attractive to companies looking to relocate operations or build new facilities. We would like to thank everyone involved, including Congressman Visclosky and the State of Indiana, for their diligence in getting the agreement done that will make this project a reality.”

Congressman Visclosky said, “As a hub of freight and passenger rail commerce for the rest of the nation, Northwest Indiana’s economic success depends on the quality of our rail infrastructure. The Indiana Gateway project will create jobs in the short-term, improve the transport of passengers and cargo in the mid-term, and build a foundation for a thriving rail infrastructure and a sound regional economy in the long-term. I commend the hard work of the Federal Railroad Administration, the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, Amtrak, and the State of Indiana to bring this project to fruition.”