EDITORIAL: Get high-speed rail project moving

From the Northwest Indiana Times:

It has been nearly two years since federal funding was granted for the a high-speed rail project in Northwest Indiana, yet no construction has begun yet. It’s time to get this project moving.

The junction in Porter currently creates congestion that must be addressed if high-speed trips are to occur. Delays are frequent as trains wait for the junction to occur.

It’s a heavily traveled area, with as many as 90 freight trains and 14 Amtrak passenger trains a day on those tracks near the Porter-Chesterton border.

Funding granted last week for purchasing a 135-mile rail route in Michigan adds additional pressure to complete the Porter project, referred to as the Indiana Gateway.

Local officials were told the Indiana project, as important as it is, has been on hold because the Englewood Flyover project on Chicago’s South Side and the Michigan project were deemed bigger priorities, said John Swanson, chairman of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

But the Englewood Flyover project is getting off the ground, and the Michigan project is going forward, so now it’s time to reach an agreement between Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and the Indiana Department of Transportation so the Indiana Gateway project can commence.

Getting the railroads to agree on the Gary/Chicago International Airport expansion project has taken years. Agreements must be reached quickly for the Indiana Gateway project.

That project is expected to create 703 construction jobs, which will help boost the local economy. Tracks will have to be reconfigured, but the project also includes track and signal work from there to the Illinois state line. Those jobs, as well as the completed project, are needed.

The Indiana Gateway railroad project has been on hold for almost two years. Get the railroads to agree to the work so the high-speed rail line can be developed.

Read more: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_b6073a53-6c87-52c1-ad48-c888c46cebdd.html#ixzz1anJDhAPi