U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky will head to Indianapolis on Monday to make the case for extending the South Shore rail line.

Visclosky, D-Merrillville, has announced he will testify Monday afternoon in front of the State Senate's Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee about the benefits to Northwest Indiana of continuing the South Shore line south to Cedar Lake and east through Lowell to Valparaiso.

During this year's General Assembly session, Visclosky pushed legislators hard to find a local funding source for the project, which the state could leverage to attract federal money the congressman would seek in Washington to cover the estimated $900 million cost of the expansion.

State Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, presented the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee plans this spring for a wheel tax on vehicles in Lake and Porter counties to subsidize the project.

An annual tax of $50 on all passenger cars and $80 on all heavier trucks would raise a total of $28.2 million per year in the two counties, to be administered by the Regional Development Authority, Dobis said at the time.

The proposal died amid opposition from other members of Northwest Indiana's legislative caucus.

Visclosky said he will be joined at Monday's hearing by Dobis, as well as State Sens. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, and Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso; and State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso.

State Sen. Luke Kenley, the committee's chairman, has announced Monday's hearing will be the final meeting at which the body will hear public testimony this summer.

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