As parking gets more expensive in Chicago, this crucial economic development project moves forward.
Bad news for commuters who drive to work in Chicago: the cost of parking is going up. Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to jack up the city's parking tax to 22 percent on weekdays, which would give Chicago the highest parking tax in the nation. That's all the more reason to expand and upgrade the South Shore train line and give Northwest Indiana residents even more options for accessing high-paying careers in Chicago.
The West Lake Corridor extension and upgrades to the existing line are projected to create nearly 2,000 jobs in Northwest Indiana. The project is part of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District's 20-year strategic plan to create jobs and boost the economy of the region and the state. When in full operation, the extension will serve more than 5,000 daily riders who will bring back about $147 million in annual salaries to spend on goods and services in Northwest Indiana. That's a 62% increase over the income returned by the existing South Shore line. The extension will also increase property values, spur transit-oriented development in communities on and near the new line, and increase the region's attractiveness to companies looking to relocate to Indiana. The RDA has pledged $8 million annually over the next 30 years to fuel construction of the West Lake Corridor.