March 26, 2017-At a meeting of the Hammond City Council, Libertarian Candidate for Congress Donna Dunn schooled council members in the operations and maintenance of rail including the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, operator of the South Shore Line. One of the comments made by Dunn was that rail operators do not use a lot of local labor to lay tracks, that work is done by out of state “rail gangs.” This was true at the Gary Airport where the Airport Authority and the RDA spent over $200M – much of it to relocate rail lines.
At a meeting of the NICTD Board on Friday, the Board approved a contract for $389,492.00 with Balfour-Beatty Track Management Services of Fleming Island, Florida. Thus, workers and machinery will be brought in from Florida while the unemployment rate in Northwest Indiana remains unchanged. Balfour Beatty is a company based in the United Kingdom, so any profits earned will leave the country.
No Board Member, including our Lake County representatives Mike Repay and Christine Cid, asked whether anyone local could perform the contracted tasks.