Rail board bill will move to summer study session
By Matt Mikus email@example.com February 14, 2013 11:11AM
Passengers wait to board as a westbound train pulls in midday at the Gary Metro stop of the South Shore rail line in Gary, Ind. Thursday October 13, 2011. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:34PM
INDIANAPOLIS — The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will not see any changes to its board membership, for the time being.
Instead, state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, amended House Bill 1450 to have a summer study committee on transportation look over ridership, the board configuration, and all other aspects of the rail line.
The amended bill passed the House Transportation Committee unanimously.
Reardon said the bill was proposed to address concerns of under representation for Lake County commuters and start a dialogue.
“My concerns remain the same,” Reardon said. “But this summer study committee will delve into the issues with more scrutiny. I think it will give us more time to vet out the issues.”
She says the organization of the NICTD board has led to a stall on the West Lake corridor rail line that would connect communities like Munster, St. John and Lowell to the South Shore, and with a recent push in Indianapolis for mass transit, they will have to compete for public mass transit funds from the state.
The original bill would have added the mayors of Hammond, Gary, East Chicago and Hobart in Lake County, Portage and Valparaiso in Porter County, and Michigan City, LaPorte and South Bend as board members. It would have removed board members from county councils in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties, as well as representatives selected by the governor, riders and labor.