What started out as a temporary location for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) station, it has remained on the east side of the South Bend Airport for years.
Based on the South Shore Line operator’s Board of Trustees action last week, the decision has been made to move the station to the west side of the airport. The Board approved a $6 million contract with engineering firm DLZ to do the work necessary to move the station. The work will also include realigning the tracks to reduce at-grade road crossings and shorten the trip into the airport.
NICTD president Michael Noland said “It is a really exciting opportunity.”
This move would drop the travel time from Millennium Station in Chicago to the South Bend airport to about 90 minutes. In addition, the Board is considering the possibility of running two-car shuttles every hour between the airport and Michigan City to serve the travel market.
The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is expected to be finished in a little less than a year, and if favorable, would enable the railroad to seek matching funds in the U.S. Department of Transportation grant programs that have grown with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021.
Michael Smith, the NICTD Chairman, who also serves as the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, pointed out the project will be an economic and jobs driver. He added, “It’s a project of regional significance.”