In 1977 the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation enabling the four counties served by the South Shore (St. Joseph, LaPorte, Porter and Lake counties) to create The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) for the sole purpose of maintaining and improving South Shore passenger service.
The Indiana Public Mass Transportation Fund (PMTF) provides NICTD with an annual set-aside percentage (12.34%) of the total PMTF amount available ($29.5 million in 2005) for operating and capital needs. NICTD is the owner/operator of the South Shore rail passenger service. NICTD operates between the Michiana Regional Airport in South Bend, Indiana, and Randolph Street Station in Chicago. The line is approximately 90 miles in length. NICTD serves the principal Indiana Communities of Hammond, East Chicago, Gary, Ogden Dunes/Portage, Chesterton, Michigan City, and South Bend. NICTD also serves Hegewisch and neighboring communities of southeast Chicago.
NICTD's primary mission is to provide safe, reliable transportation to its customers. With financial aid from federal and state governments, NICTD has begun a major capital improvement program designed to:
- Enhance safety
- Improve service reliability
- Reduce travel time to the Loop
- Improve rush hour capacity
- Improve passenger amenities at key stations (parking, security, real time information on train status, and passenger waiting areas).