Introduction

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s (NICTD) existing South Shore Line (SSL) provides a vital transportation link that connects Northwest Indiana to Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. NICTD is proposing the West Lake Corridor Project as an extension of the SSL route to reach high-growth areas in central, southern, and western Lake County, Indiana. The project would expand NICTD’s service coverage between Northwest Indiana and the Chicago region, improve mobility and accessibility, and stimulate local job creation and economic development opportunities for Lake County.

West Lake Corridor ProjectSpecifically, the project is intended to:

  • Serve high-growth areas in Northwest Indiana
  • Conveniently connect more Northwest Indiana residents to downtown Chicago jobs and major activity centers
  • Establish a solid modal alternative between the two metropolitan regions other than driving
  • Lower commuting travel times and costs
  • Increase NICTD system ridership
  • Promote economic development opportunities
  • Create local jobs in Northwest Indiana
  • Attract and retain families and younger residents
  • Provide a valued transportation asset for use by all Northwest Indiana residents

To move this project forward, NICTD is initiating a study that will assess the potential impacts of the West Lake Corridor Project on the man-made and natural environments. To streamline the process, this effort will build on prior evaluations that examined a broad range of alternatives and transit modes. The study will result in the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that meets the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, as well as the selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) that can possibly advance in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts funding program. These are required steps that NICTD must take to receive potential federal funding for the project.