U.S. Department of Transportation Helps Advance Key Multi-Modal Project in Northern Indiana with a Loan $203.3 Million for the West Lake Corridor Commuter Rail Project
Loan builds off of a previously announced $354 million Federal grant to move this transformative transit project forward
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that its Build America Bureau has provided a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement (RRIF) Program loan of up to $203.3 million to finance a portion of the $852 million in eligible costs for the West Lake Corridor Commuter Rail Project, further demonstrating the Federal commitment to the project. The 8-mile single-track extension of the existing Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s South Shore Line between Dyer and Hammond, Indiana, will result in faster and more reliable access to the Chicago area, unlocking economic opportunity in Northern Indiana.
Not only does the project invest in fixed track but also will expand multi-modal options with new sidewalks, walking trails and bike paths in and around stations areas, including four new stations along the alignment (from south to north) at Munster/Dyer Main Street, Munster Ridge Road, South Hammond, and Hammond Gateway).
“USDOT is excited to provide financing for the West Lake Corridor Commuter Rail project. Multi-modal investments like this support thriving communities, expand transportation options, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg.
In 2020, USDOT announced a $354.6 million grant agreement with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) for the West Lake Corridor Project through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investments Program—a commitment USDOT renewed this spring in its annual budget request.
USDOT’s Build America Bureau helps communities across the country reduce the costs of infrastructure projects by providing low-cost, long-term RRIF and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans and other types of financing. The Borrower is the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA).
“The Bureau financed approximately one-third of the project costs to get this important project underway so the area can reap the benefits from new jobs and increased capital investment in the region as soon as possible,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian.
The Bureau was established as a “one-stop-shop” during the Obama Administration to help states and other project sponsors carry out infrastructure projects. The Bureau offers low-interest, long-term credit programs, technical assistance, and best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden in November 2021, expands project eligibility for the Bureau’s credit program and extends maturity of the loans, giving borrowers additional flexibility.
To date, the DOT has closed more than $7.4 billion in RRIF financing for projects across the U.S.