- Why was the RDA created?
To help fund major infrastructure projects in Northwest Indiana, such as revitalizing the Lake Michigan shoreline and addressing regional transportation, that are beyond the scope and financial abiliuty of any single municipality.
- How is the RDA funded?
The cities of East Chicago, Gary and Hammond and Lake County each invest $3.5 Million a year from casino revenue. Porter County has no casino, so its $3.5 million a year comes from a share of a .25% CEDIT lax levy which also provides Homestead Tax Credits to reduce property taxes on owner-occupied homes in Porter County. For its first 10 years, the RDA also received $10 million a year from the state from the Major Moves fund. Subsequent to 2015, the state has partnered with the RDA to provide additional funding for commuter rail expansion in Northwest Indiana. This includes a committment of $6 million per year in 2015 and an additional $200 million in 2019.
- What are RDA funds used for?
The Legislature delineated four specific areas:
- Expansion of the Gary Chicago Airport
- Extension of the South Shore commuter service
- Redevelopment of the Lake Michigan shoreline
- Regional Bus Authority
- Who decides what projects are to be funded?
The RDA Board of Directors comprised of seven members named by elected bodies or officials. Five are named by the cities and counties that provide funding and two are appointed by the Governor. They are all unpaid volunteers.
- Does the RDA originate projects?
No, the RDA partners with local government and other public entities, responding to their initiatives and helping them to assure that projects are conceived and carried out efficiently and effectively.
- What has the RDA accomplished thus far?
The RDA has accomplished some heavy lifting in advancing major initiatives step by step. Some progress is more visible than other pieces that may in fact require more work and represent substantial progress on long-term initiatives. The RDA has been a catalyst for regional cooperation and the actual facilitator of a true regional approach to prioritizing what needs to be done to improve our economy and quality of life.
As of the end of 2012, the RDA had invested or committed to investing $211 million. This investment had attracted an additional $450 million in federal, state, local and private funding funding. By 2015, RDA-funded projects are projected to generate a cumulative total of $1.1 billion in economic output, and will support an estimated 4,000 jobs by 2025. RDA projects include:
- The Portage lakefront Park (Marquette Plan).
- Major utility relocation at the Gary airport as part of the runway extension project, as well as, crucial property acquisitions required to expand the airports capabilities.
- Developed plans and funded Hammond lake shore redevelopment project, along with similar plans for Whiting that include important connecting development pieces (Marquette Plan).
- Funded the Chicago Dash commuter bus from Valparaiso to Chicago and major redevelopment in the area of the bus depot.
- Invested in a much needed upgrade of commuter cars for NICTD that benefits riders from both Lake and Porter counties.
- What has been the return on investment thus far?
Click here to see our 2012 Return on Investment Analysis.