This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — A federal agency has finalized a deal to provide $173 million for expanding the South Shore commuter rail line that runs between northern Indiana and Chicago by adding a second track between two Indiana cities.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday that the Federal Transit Administration’s agreement with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will allow construction to start on expanding the South Shore rail line to a double track between Gary and Michigan City.

The project will add a second set of tracks spanning about 17 miles (27 kilometers) along an existing single-track rail between the two cities, and make other improvements.

Holcomb said the project, which will cost a total of $491 million, will speed passenger rail service between the cities, make critical safety improvements at grade crossings and upgrade five stations along that route.

“By improving commuter rail through the Region, the project is a game changer for northwest Indiana and the entire state,” Holcomb said.

The state of Indiana had already committed nearly $200 million for the work, while local municipalities and entities have agree to spend nearly $120 million.

The agreement between the federal agency and operator of the South Shore line comes about three months after a similar agreement was finalized for $355 million in federal funding for a project to extend the South Shore commuter rail line from Hammond south to Dyer. The total cost of that 7.8-mile (12.6-kilometer) extension and work to add four new stations is $945 million.

Read More Chicago News headlines