NICTD, operator of the South Shore Line, has provided an update regarding its Double Track Northwest Indiana Project (DT-NWI). An environmental analysis was conducted in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and concluded in November 2018 with the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact. 
The FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program has three phases – 
1) Project Development; 2) Engineering; and 3) Construction. Each phase of the project involves extensive requirements that must be completed and approved by the FTA in order to advance to the next phase. The project has completed the Project Development stage and formally sent FTA a request to enter the Engineering phase on June 27.
NICTD concurrently requested a Project Rating, which is determined by FTA and used to justify its funding recommendations to Congress. A Project Rating of Medium or higher is required to advance to the next phase in the CIG program. NICTD expects to hear from FTA on its request to enter the Engineering phase, and to receive a Project Rating, by late 2019.
At this time, NICTD expects construction to begin in 2021 and end in 2023. The earliest NICTD would begin purchasing real estate would be in December 2019, with most acquisitions occurring throughout 2020 and into early 2021. This timeline could continue to shift depending on project progress. 
You can check for updates anytime on the “Next Steps” section on the homepage at