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STATE WIDE–Indiana is growing, despite the effects of the pandemic, said Gov. Eric Holcomb in his State of the State speech last week. Ball State Economics Prof. Mike Hicks said the state’s growth is on par with the rest of the country and we are actually ahead in some areas.

“Low unemployment, good GDP growth, a good recovery overall and a great budget environment…when Indiana is growing as fast as the country as a whole, that’s good news,” said Hicks, in an interview with Inside Indiana Business.

LINK: IIB Story and video

Hicks pointed out that, as the governor said in his speech, Indiana’s population is growing, while other states around us lag.

“It’s important to know that the bulk of that growth is in the Indianapolis Metro Area, almost 100 percent of it. But, the fact that Indiana’s growing when Illinois, Michigan and Ohio are not, it’s really an important long-term benefit for the state,” he said.

One area where Indiana is expected to grow more is in the northwest region, where Holcomb pointed out projects like the South Shore double track (railroad project) and the West Lake corridor, are expected to connect cities like Hammond and Munster with Chicago.

“We’re essentially a large urban area from South Bend west to Chicago with a lot of available land. It’s a great place to live,” said Hicks. “This changes dramatically the opportunity for primarily residential development, in my opinion, we could see really significant growth. This is how you make that part of Indiana ready for the 21st century.”

Also encouraging people to be ready to work are “Ready Grants”, which pay tuition for trade programs at institutions like Ivy Tech.

“They provide really five or six regions with as much money as the Regional Cities Grants that stimulate the construction and infrastructure investment in quality of place.”