WVPE: “The remaining gaps in the 60-mile Marquette Greenway Trail are being filled one piece at a time, thanks to an infusion of state and federal funding.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, celebrated how President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan is still delivering for Hoosier families. This time, the Rescue Plan will provide a $4.9 million investment to complete the 60-mile long Marquette Greenway Trail via the state’s Next Level Trails program. The investment is expected to exponentially increase trail users, bringing in new economic activity to the surrounding areas and a brighter future for Northwest Indiana – and it’s Democrats like Frank Mrvan who got this done.
Not a single Republican in Indiana’s Congressional delegation voted for the American Rescue Plan. In fact, Jennifer-Ruth Green described this Northwest Indiana investment as “failed economic policies”. Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer even claimed opposing the Rescue Plan was a “great campaign to run on”. Indiana Republicans consistently prove they have no plans for the state’s future – just national partisanship.
Here’s a look at how Indiana Democrat’s have delivered yet again for the Hoosier State:
WVPE: Plans to fill remaining gaps in Marquette Greenway Trail moving ahead
Efforts to build a continuous bike trail from Chicago to Michigan continue to move forward. The remaining gaps in the 60-mile Marquette Greenway Trail are being filled one piece at a time, thanks to an infusion of state and federal funding.
Mitch Barloga is the active transportation manager for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC). “So the Marquette Greenway is well underway and well-funded and continues to be well-funded,” he recently told NIRPC’s Ped, Pedal & Paddle Committee.
In May, the city of Portage hired Gariup Construction Company to build the section from Deer Trail Park east to the town of Burns Harbor for a cost of almost $2.9 million. Construction is expected to start in June.
Meanwhile, Porter County was recently awarded a $4.9 million Next Level Trails grant to replace the gravel Calumet Trail with a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail between the Dune Park South Shore station and Lake Shore County Road.
“It would be a Lake County section, a Porter County section, a LaPorte County section, a Michigan section, and then, there’s also going to be one for a project management/engineer and design review,” he told committee members. And each portion will go through a different process, to meet the deadlines in place for federal COVID-19 money.
Local leaders feel the Marquette Greenway can have a transformational effect on Northwest Indiana. That’s something U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland) noted when he announced federal funding for a Gary portion of the trail in April.
“Ultimately, what we have to envision is it is economic development, so it is a connector. It’s a connector from Chicago all around the Great Lakes to bring people in from across the country,” he said at the time.
It’s also expected to bring more bike tourists to Northwest Indiana on the South Shore Line, especially after the railroad’s Double Track project. Officials with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) say the Bikes on Trains program has seen strong numbers since it began in 2016. But NICTD President Mike Noland believes these projects will bring an “exponential” increase in users.
Porter County Commissioner Jeff Good also sees the importance of the Marquette Greenway for Northwest Indiana. “I’m really excited. I know my term is done at the end of this year, but I wanted to make sure that the funding and make sure that this thing got done because it’s going to be a gem,” he told the rest of the NICTD Board.