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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joined representatives from Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and Norfolk Southern Railway yesterday to kick off the $71.4 million Indiana Gateway project to improve rail lines between Porter, Ind., and the Illinois state line.The project calls for improving track at seven locations on NS' Chicago Line and one on Amtrak's Michigan Line. NS will install universal crossovers at five locations and construct a third mainline track at three locations, according to an Indiana Department of Transportation press release.Pence described the project as a "triple threat that underscores the importance of a multi-modal transportation system capable of efficiently moving both people and freight.”Amtrak will build a new passing siding near the Porter Interlocking, where NS, Amtrak and two CSX Transportation lines intersect. The project will improve Amtrak passenger-rail service for several routes that terminate in Michigan, Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C.“Fourteen daily Amtrak trains every day share these tracks with dozens of Norfolk Southern freight trains, all with time-sensitive customers,” said Michael Franke, Amtrak's chief of state government contracts. “The Indiana Gateway project will improve some of the busiest tracks in the country, adding capacity and increasing the fluidity of all trains.”The project's design is nearing completion. Construction is expected to begin this spring and be completed in 2016.Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Indiana Gateway project will complement rail improvements in neighboring states, such as the Englewood Flyover project in Chicago, Indiana officials said.