Holcomb signs bill to double track South Shore Line
MICHIGAN CITY —
A bill to help fund improvements to the South Shore Line is moving forward. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) visited Michigan City today to sign the bill.
When the project is done, travel times from South Bend to Chicago will be a lot shorter
The improvement project would double track the line from Michigan City to Gary. That's just 17 miles, but it'll make your trip from here South Bend to Chicago much shorter. Community leaders say you could be in downtown Chicago in just 90 minutes.
"We're not just looking at Chicago. Chicago was looking at us right now, and I can tell you were on very good soil,” Holcomb said.
"Huge day. This is epic in our 108-year history. We're on the brink of greatness here,” said South Shore President Michael Noland.
That's because a shorter commute time means more people might be interested in living in northwest Indiana.
"Numbers show that 90 minutes and less are classified as a commuter destination, so we think we could very easily make ourselves available for people to come from Illinois or even from other parts of northwest Indiana to come to St. Joseph County," said St. Joseph County Commissioner Andy Kostielney (R).
Shorter commute times aren't the only things that will be attractive in the region.
"Home values, you get more for your money here and you pay less in taxes. It's going to be a no-brainer once we can drive those commute times,” Noland said.
New neighbors mean good news for the communities near the South Shore.
"They'll buy homes, they'll buy products, they'll shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants -- it would just be a boon a real big boon for St. Joseph County," Kostielney said.
Holcomb says those new neighbors, paired with a low unemployment rate and a AAA credit rating, will also attract a lot of business. He says that's good news for the whole state.
"The region packs such a powerful punch, and it's such an engine for our state, not just the region and the families that make it up but for the whole state of Indiana, and when we’re clicking on all cylinders Indiana stays way out in front," Holcomb said.
Noland says he's seen similar growth in other cities. He says when Milwaukee cut its travel times to Chicago from two and a half hours to 90 minutes ridership doubled. Noland says he's hoping for the same here.