INDIANAPOLIS – The conference committee report on House Bill (HB) 1144 was approved by the Senate on Friday by a vote of 49-1, and will now go to the governor for final consideration. This bill is extremely beneficial for the Northwest Indiana region as it paves the way for transit development of the entire South Shore line, from the Illinois state line to South Bend.

HB 1144, authored by Representative Harold Slager and sponsored by State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) would permit the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (NWIRDA) to establish transit development districts within the Northwest Indiana corridor, including the new double track project in Porter County and Michigan City. After conference committee hearings this week, amendments were added requiring that the project meet federal funding, and also added intercept language into the proposal.

“The effects of this legislation, in tandem with the immense development the Regional Cities Initiative will bring to our region, will shift our economic engine into full throttle,” Sen. Neizsgodski said. “This rail infrastructure improvement plan is the catalyst of an economic expansion that will continue well into future generations.”

The bill has moved through the House and Senate with general favor and will now make its last stop at the governor’s office before being signed into law.