September 8, 2017
The Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has approved a resolution formalizing the RDA's financial commitments to the South Shore commuter line’s West Lake and Double Tracking bond issues.
The board also formally accepted reports from KPMG and Farr Associates which, along with the resolution, will be submitted to the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) today by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD).
September 5, 2017
The potential end of a federal citizenship program was called "cruel" by some Indiana officials but seen as an opportunity for immigration reform.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving a six-month time frame for Congress to draft its own immigration proposal, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
September 5, 2017
It's always encouraging to see the stock rising for plans putting our Region on course to economic transformation and growth.
And the recent Indiana visit of U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao presented a green arrow pointed firmly upward for the future of Northwest Indiana commuter rail expansion and improvement.
Last week, Chao attended a two-hour briefing in South Bend, hearing the merits of the proposed South Shore Line expansion from Hammond to Dyer, double tracking from Gary to Michigan City and realignment of tracks in South Bend.
September 2, 2017
Union membership may be declining nationally but their voice in political circles has not grown quiet.
Even as the country's labor landscape continues evolving and some jobs move offshore, mostly in manufacturing and traditional union strongholds, unions have not let up on advocating for their members. The National Institute for Labor Relations Research’s 2016 Election Cycle Analysis of big labor political spending estimates unions spent $1.7 billion during the 2016 election cycle.
September 1, 2017
Congressman Visclosky announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded a grant for the Michigan City Fire Department under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program.
The $718,468 grant award will provide the Michigan City Fire Department with the ability to hire six additional firefighters. In general, the SAFER program is designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards and improve the nation’s overall level of preparedness.
September 1, 2017
As unions celebrate Labor Day on Monday, many will be keeping an eye on efforts to revamp the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, and hoping that this time the end result will be good for workers.
"I don't want to see a NAFTA on steroids," said Pete Trinidad, president of United Steelworkers Local 6787 in Chesterton, which represents steelworkers at ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor plant.
August 29, 2017
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao cites bipartisanship, private investment possibilities of South Shore projects
SOUTH BEND — U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao suggested Tuesday that bipartisan support and the opportunity for private development associated with the South Shore Line's major infrastructure projects will be important factors as things move through the planning stages.
The secretary made the comments after a two-hour briefing on the South Shore's West Lake Corridor, Double Track NWI and South Bend realignment projects at South Bend International Airport.
August 23, 2017
GARY — U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., inspected ongoing improvements at the Gary/Chicago International Airport during a Tuesday afternoon tour, part of a six-day trip around the state kicking off the senator's 2018 re-election campaign. Donnelly visited both of the airport's fixed-base operators, Gary Jet Center and B. Coleman Aviation, which are in the midst of major construction projects. Airport officials also pointed out the building planned to house a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, and noted upcoming runway rehabilitation work and the current reconstruction of Airport Road.
August 22, 2017
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a grant to South Shore Arts. First District Democrat Congressman Pete Visclosky announced the grant award today (Tuesday) which will support a South Shore Arts instructor to provide art supplies and lead students in Lake, Porter, and La Porte counties in art projects inspired by the children’s book “The Skin You Live In,” by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csisko, and the environmental conservation story “Waterville” by Nick Mantis.
August 11, 2017
Congressman Visclosky announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded a grant that will benefit several volunteer fire departments in Porter County under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
Specifically, the $680,000 grant award will assist the volunteer fire departments in Hebron, Kouts, Morgan Township, and Porter Township. This grant funding will be used to purchase duel band radios that will complement the action taken by the Porter County Board of Commissioners to upgrade the emergency radio system. In general, FEMA’s AFG program is designed to award grants directly to fire departments in order to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel.
August 10, 2017
Congressman Visclosky questions Trump boast of strengthening America's nuclear arsenal in outspoken moment
INDIANAPOLIS — The top Democrat serving on the U.S. House panel responsible for defense spending is condemning President Donald Trump's "loose and imprecise language" concerning nuclear weapons. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, took issue Thursday with the Republican's claim, made via Twitter at 6:56 a.m Wednesday, that his "first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal."
August 8, 2017
PORTAGE - The U.S. Department of Transportation is recommending a nearly $10 million grant for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. The funding, which still requires Congressional approval, would cover half of a proposed $19.7 million infrastructure expansion at the Portage operation.
August 4, 2017
Long may Lee Botts’ flag wave, over the Dunes Learning Center (DLC) at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, was the special guest at a flag-raising ceremony to honor Botts, a nationally recognized Dunes environmentalist who founded the DLC in 1998.
July 25, 2017
The Medicare For All Rally, held Monday evening on the Valparaiso Courthouse square drew over 100 people from Porter County and Northwest Indiana. The event was organized in partnership with Hoosier Women on the March, Progressives in Action Northwest Indiana, the Community Strategy Group, NWI NOW, and Blue Valpo. The rally’s main message was that healthcare should be a human right, not a privilege in the United States.
July 22, 2017
La PORTE — La Porte County Democrats recruited a trio of heavy hitters to rally the party faithful Friday during the organization’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Celebration. U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky and state House Minority Leader Scott Pelath all talked about the importance of winning elections — not just to gain political power, but to provide just and caring leadership, save health care and preserve the rule of law.
July 20, 2017
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, is supporting a Buy America amendment to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Interior Appropriations Act.
That amendment would strike provisions “that would have weakened Buy America requirements for projects receiving funding through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Drinking Water State Revolving Fund,” according to a statement released on Wednesday by Visclosky’s office. “Specifically, the amendment removed provisions that would have potentially permitted slab and finished iron and steel products that are imported and then substantially transformed to meet Buy America requirements.”
July 3, 2017
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, spoke before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday as it considered the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Appropriations Act
Excerpts from Visclosky’s statement:
“The legislation as written has the potential to fill many of the military’s readiness gaps and maintain the strategic technological advantage we enjoy today. Further, . . we have a duty to provide predictable and timely appropriations to the Department of Defense and the rest of the federal government. . . . Unfortunately, at this moment, I am not optimistic about the chances of this bill’s independent enactment in a timely fashion.
July 1, 2017
In 2010, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky returned to Northwest Indiana and was met with anger over the Affordable Care Act.
Seven years later, the Merrillville Democrat is once again seeing debate over health care legislation, but now the conversation has changed.
Senate Republicans have been divided over the current proposal, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, postponed a vote on the measure until after Congress' weeklong July 4 recess. Among other things, some conservative lawmakers feel the Senate plan doesn't go far enough in repealing "Obamacare," while more moderate senators have been concerned about its proposed cuts to Medicaid.
June 30, 2017
Making History - Legislators and Officials Weigh-In on Historic South Shore Double Track Bill Passage
History was made in May of 2017 as Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law House Bill 1144 that establishes and permits the South Shore Line's main line double tracking and the West Lake Corridor improvement rail projects happening across Lake, Porter, La Porte and St. Joseph Counties. Making the long sought after project a reality took a truly unprecedented level of cooperation, coordination and bipartisan support across the state, regional and local levels.
Recently, Bill Hanna, CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, visited the Great News Studio to speak with IIMM founder, Chris Mahlmann, about the landmark legislation, its unparalleled bipartisan support, and the impact it will have on Northwest Indiana.
“From the beginning of our commuter rail expansion plans, collaboration has been single most important factor in our success,” Hanna said. “Neither West Lake nor double tracking would have happened without the cooperation and hard work of everyone from the RDA’s staff and Board of Directors, to the Governor, local, state and federal officials, and the many, many business and civic leaders who lent their time and voices to this effort.”
June 25, 2017
The end of summer will mark a turning point for the two South Shore Line projects that have been years-long goals of the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District. Intensified planning over the last several years has brought the West Lake Corridor and Double Track NWI projects to the verge of applications to the federal government for project ratings — the score that could lead to grants covering half the estimated $615 million cost of West Lake and $290 million cost of Double Track.
The projects — technically separate, but complementary in their common goals and linked in their timing — have a variety of still-moving parts that have generated a number of questions over the course of the last year.