A very serious situation is developing in South Bend, Indiana. Homeowners in that area are having their homes threatened because a rail line is going to be diverted through their area. There is a planned extension to the South Shore line that will be close to the International Airport in South Bend. The estimated cost for the project is somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million. One of the primary advantages of building this railroad line is the fact that it will make a trip to the airport 10 minutes faster than it is right now because the route will be more direct. However, the railroad track would need to go through an area that has literally hundreds of houses.
This project was originally going to take place in 2005. Property in the area was bought by the airport in preparation for the start of the project. However, the airport was not able to get all of the money that it needed. Therefore, the project never got underway. Now the money seems to be available. Funding still needs to be approved by the federal government. There is also a project that will build a railway that connects Gary and Michigan City that will cost an estimated $290 million to build.
Members of the community that would be impacted by the railway construction have not revealed what measures they will take to fight the proposed project. There have been other communities around the country that have fought similar projects in court and had mixed results. The government will sometimes impose imminent domain which allows them to essentially buy a person’s home to make way for a road or railway. However, there have been cases where courts have ruled in favor of the residents and prevented a construction project from happening. The project could be delayed significantly if the residents file a lawsuit against the developers. These cases usually take a long time to hammer out in court.