Gary Port Authority’s Incomplete Application for State Funds Gets A Second Chance

Gary Redevelopment Commission has worked for two months to submit an application to Indiana State for grant funding to help ease traffic congestion caused by railroad crossings. As of August 22, the application was not completed on time for a vote on August 22 at the Authority’s meeting.  The application deadline is August 31.  The construction of bypasses is an estimated cost of $19 million.

Grant deadline looms for Gary port authority

Gregory Tejeda / Post-Tribune / August 24, 2018

If the Port Authority of Gary wants to meet an Aug. 31 deadline for submitting an application to a state agency for funds to ease rail crossing congestion, it will have to get creative on finalizing the bid before then.

The application, which has been in preparation by the Gary Redevelopment Commission for nearly two months, was incomplete at the authority’s meeting Aug. 22 and could not be voted on. The authority’s next scheduled meeting is in the third week of September.

The authority had planned to approve the application for a local TRAX grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation to be used for solutions to grade crossings where freight trains cause backups for automotive traffic.

Allison L. Bergman, an attorney for the port authority, said redevelopment officials are expected to have the application completed this week. But she acknowledged it would be complicated to schedule a special meeting and a teleconference of board members would not be considered legally binding.

Board member Debera Backhus suggested some sort of meeting via e-mail, which would have a written record of what was said and done by board members. Bergman said she would study that idea and give a definite answer as to how the application could be approved…

…Officials have said they are aware of 94 railroad crossings with potential for traffic congestion. Those include crossings on Clark Road that provides access both to Buffington Harbor and to the U.S. Steel Gary Works plant.

They estimate construction of bypasses for trucks and other vehicles could cost up to $19 million. A TRAX grant could help cover part of the cost.

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Gregory Tejeda is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.