Imagine being able to go to and from the Chicago Loop via South Bend in under 90 minutes, and maybe as quickly as 75 minutes.
It could actually happen in our lifetimes.
Both St. Joseph County and South Bend are combining to chip in on a project to both double-track the South Shore Line as well as re-route the approach into the South Bend International Airport, according to the South Bend Tribune.
Double-tracking the line would reduce the current 2.5 hour trip to Chicago from South Bend to about 90 minutes because there wouldn’t be a need to wait for oncoming trains. A special 75-minute limited-stop trip each weekday morning and evening would also be added when the work finishes in 2020.
$18.25 million would come from St. Joseph County funds, which are slated to be approved by St. Joseph County commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting. The City of South Bend’s redevelopment commission agreed last week to $25 million in funding from the River Park TIF district. Neither expenditure would require new taxes.
In total, the South Shore project is slated to cost $290 million. The federal government will cover half, the state will cover 25 percent, and the rest will be covered jointly by Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph Counties. The counties would contribute to double-track the railroad between Gary and Michigan City.
The Federal Transit Administration has to give final approval for the project, which could get preliminary approval in October or November this year, according to the South Bend Tribune.
It is possible that the new route would require some residents to be moved from their homes.