South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave his recommendations regarding the rerouting of the South Shore Train Line at the city’s common council meeting last night.
He says he'd like to see the South Shore Line downtown. It would run alongside, if not be combined with the Transpo Station on South Street.
But this means the price tag of the project will increase to a hundred million dollars from twenty five million dollars when the extension project was first proposed last year. Buttigieg says bringing the train downtown just makes sense.
"The reason I think Downtown arouses the most excitement, I think it has the most potential,” Buttigieg said, “I think trains are meant to go from one downtown to another. That’s how they tend to work around the country and around the world. That’s how they used to work here."
He says the deadline to complete the project would be 2025, but now that route options have been narrowed down, more specific studies regarding project viability can be conducted.
Executive Director of the South Bend Airport Mike Daigle says he plans seek an additional west side station which could help the airport pursue international cargo business, creating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the city.
Council Member Oliver Davis had concerns regarding the Council’s input on route options before Buttigieg decided on what recommendations to bring forward. Davis says the council is not alway given all or even enough information to conduct a vote in a timely manner. He suggested the Mayor, along with other officials involved with the South Shore plan take questions and comments from the public before deciding on the final best plan.
The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, or NICTD, which operates the South Shore line, outlined 9 options last year, where they conducted environmental studies. One of those was the highly debated Ardmore option, which would see the South Shore Line going through the Ardmore neighborhood and directly to the airport. Residents of Ardmore protested NICTD’s plan, and some were ready to thank officials at the council meeting for not pursuing the Ardmore option. However, NICTD President Michael Noland says the option is not completely off the table.
When the South Shore Line double tracking and rerouting project is complete, officials estimate a trip to Chicago from South Bend could be shortened to 90 minutes from the now nearly two hour trip.