by Bob Geary
I see that it was just 15 months ago — last June — when the state DOT made its first public pitch for turning the old Dillon Supply fabrication building, also known as the Viaduct Building, into a new Amtrak station for downtown Raleigh.
The Viaduct Building wasn't part of the city's grand Union Station scheme (for background, click on the link above), but it's turning out to be a great add-on — in City Hall-speak, it's now Union Station, Phase 1.
Meanwhile, the grand plan's been scaled back because of the Triangle Transit Authority's decision to sell one of the two other Dillon Supply buildings it purchased years ago.
That's the building fronting on the west side of West Street between West Morgan and West Hargett streets. It's the one ticketed for use by by Citrix, a software company.
TTA still owns the the building on the south side of West Hargett, in between the Citrix building and the Viaduct Building. And it owns the Viaduct Building, which it's contributing to the Union Station cause.
More on the situation with the Citrix building soon, but for now, here's today's good news as provided by the city's public information staff:
FULL FUNDING FOR RALEIGH’S
UNION STATION PROJECT IS ANNOUNCED
Mayor Nancy McFarlane welcomed Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo to Raleigh today for the announcement that the Union Station Project will receive the full $60 million in funding. The announcement was made at a morning press conference at the Viaduct Building, 510 West Martin Street Downtown.
The Mayor said that monies from the City, state and federal coffers and contributions from transit groups, totaling more than $60 million, have been committed to building Union Station and the supporting track work.
“The Union Station Project is a major step toward transforming Raleigh’s transportation network to that of a world-class, 21st-century city,” Mayor McFarlane said. “The partnerships that have made this project a reality are an example of governments working together to build an infrastructure that will promote economic development and the best quality of life for our citizens.”
Also speaking at the press conference, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said hard work and tireless effort helped to secure the funding. “This is a clear cut example of how when local, state and federal groups work hand-in-hand, wonderful things can happen,” he said. “Congratulations to the City of Raleigh for having such vision.”
The $15.1 million from North Carolina’s $545 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award will be used to help build Union Station. Additionally, $466,000 in federal dollars and a $250,000 match from the City and the state provide the final piece of funding.
The City is working with the Federal Railroad Administration, North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Triangle Transit Authority, which is providing its Downtown Viaduct facility worth approximately $1.4 million, for the building of the new Union Station. The City also has partnered with Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and the North Carolina Railroad Company.
The City of Raleigh began a study in September 2010 in search of a multimodal transportation center. A North Carolina Department of Transportation study concluded the project was feasible and calculated the cost to be approximately $60 million. In June of this year, a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant totaling $21 million was awarded to the Union Station project.
North Carolina Department of Transportation engineers anticipant the project design will begin in January, with construction starting in January of 2014. Construction of the new Raleigh Union Station project is expected to be completed in January 2017.
The existing Raleigh Transit Station served 192,000 passengers in 2011, which was a 17 percent increase over 2010. The station is serving a ridership which far exceeds its waiting area and parking capacity, preventing growth in passenger ridership and revenue across the state, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation officials.