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Decision on where to reroute South Shore rail passenger line could come soon

The decision on where to reroute South Shore rail passenger line could come soon. // WSBT 22

The city of South Bend has been debating where to put a new South Shore station for months.

A decision could come soon.

The decision will have a big impact.

In a letter to the mayor, the Downtown South Bend board says a project of this size could impact the community for generations to come.

DTSB supports putting the rail passenger station in the heart of downtown.

Downtown South Bend is used to trains. But for decades, not the kind that carries people.

That could change.

One of the five locations being considered for re-routing the South Shore is on South Street by Union Station and Four Winds Field.

South Bend Cubs president Joe Hart says that option makes sense.

"Obviously as a Cubs affiliate, we get a lot Cubs fans coming from Chicago to come to our games, so there would be a benefit for that. I think it's a bigger picture than just the ballpark. I think it's truly a huge benefit for the city," said Hart.

DTSB also likes the idea, but the board would like more information on things like parking and the availability of grants.

The downtown option is by far the most expensive.

President of the South Shore Line Michael Noland says he appreciates all the input and is keeping his mind open.

Helping grow downtown is only one factor.

"From a rail perspective, being at the airport is important. Having multi-modal connectivity is something we have appreciated for some time and we see real value in long-term being able to part of the growth of South Bend International Airport as well as our passenger growth," said Noland.

While access to the airport is a plus, Hart is worried about access to things to do.

"If you're coming in from out of town, you typically don't have a car. Now if you're out further away you have to try and make arrangements to get wherever you're going. Where at least if you're downtown, you're closer to the ballpark here. You're closer to Notre Dame. You're closer to hotels that are downtown. I think you have a lot more flexibility from that aspect of it," said Hart.

The reason behind the change in location is to help shorten the travel time between South Bend and Chicago to only 90 minutes.

In a statement, the mayor's office said a decision is expected in the coming weeks.

To read the full letter from DTSB, click here.

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