House Appropriations Committee Puts a Halt to Visclosky’s $600M Train to Munster


July 17, 2017-The US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee tonight advanced a FY2018 budget that included zero dollars for Congressman Visclosky’s $600M train to Munster.  Congressman Visclosky is a member of the committee and he rose to speak in favor of the New Starts funding program.  Congressman Visclosky acknowledged that states had spent “millions of dollars” in preparation for federal funding.  He went on to make his best argument:  “If this committee has bought paper, and this committee has bought ink, and this committee has prepared that report, the administration ought to follow the direction of that committee.”  The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) has spent millions of local tax dollars on consultants and studies for the West Lake Extension.  The RDA and the Norther Indiana Commuter Transportation District, operator of the South Shore Line, insist the project will cost $615M but have not revised that figure upward in years.

The West Lake Extension is a key component of the Slager/Visclosky Regional Transformation Plan.  Under that plan, the RDA would take control of development around the existing South Shore Line as well as the West Lake Extension and would capture local tax revenue in order to create mixed use, multi-family development.  RDA has stated they intend to create an “urban wall” of business along Ridge Road in Munster.

The full house and the Senate must still act on the budget.  The Appropriations Committee vote is a major blow to the project.  Critics of the New Starts program have suggested that the program ignores crucial infrastructure needs in urban areas where mass transit is utilized in favor of new mass transit in areas where it is underutilized.

Under the Visclosky/RDA plan, the Ridge Road corridor in Munster would be transformed into an urban wall”

Comments

  1. RePete Reply

    Stop wasting more of our money, Visclosky! Let’s take a vote of the residents who will be affected by this boondoggle.

  2. Katherine Clement Reply

    I know your story is on the train but when your in a situation like me homelessness is a big issue. How or even why the HOUSE vote NO on the Lee Bill is beside me. This is a very big issue in NWI and it’s been a big issues for years but its even worse if you collect disability and can’t afford the rents of today and the fee the landlords charge for background checks let me just say $735 doesn’t go far and something needs to be done. There isn’t enough funding to help people like me.

  3. Jr Reply

    Yippie!

    Now how are the municipalities going to receive a refund for their contribution?

  4. Roger Schweikert Reply

    So what good is train to Munster–an aging town with large homes $$$ no-one can afford. What good will it be for whiting–Hammond–EC–Gary? NONE

  5. John Power Reply

    I feel that many local residents are missing the point of this proposed West Lake line to Munster. It is about more than spending dollars on a train line, it is about growth. The target audience for this train is young urban professionals who work in Chicago but are looking to move from Chicago neighborhoods once they have kids (better schools, more house, etc). This train is a gateway…. a very crucial item that makes them consider raising their families here instead of in the Chicago area. These people look at Chicago suburbs and find no relief….houses, schools, taxes and everything else cost a lot even if they move to Schaumburg, Naperville and even further out. North Shore communities are mostly out of reach financially, and “first ring” inner suburbs are crowded and becomong more expensive every day (Evanston, Oak Park, etc). When they realize that they can travel by train from our NW Indiana neighborhoods to downtown in less time than the commute to Naperville, and have better schools, lower taxes and nicer housing for their dollar (and leave bankrupt Illinois) they have to consider NW Indiana as a serious option. We need the overall growth this group represents, and the train is the key to attracting them to buy and fix up houses, enter their kids in schools and support our communityies as permanent residents who live here and buy here. You really want this train line.

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