Local News

Planned Raleigh transit hub fully funded

Posted September 21, 2012

— State and local transportation officials said Friday that they have scraped together enough money to fully fund construction of a $60 million regional transit hub planned for Raleigh.

Planners want to transform the old Dillon Viaduct Building warehouse on West Martin Street into a 34,000-square-foot Union Station, which would replace the cramped 62-year-old Amtrak station on Cabarrus Street – the second busiest rail terminal in the Southeast.

Raleigh received a $21 million grant from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program in June to help pay for the first phase of improvements, including renovating the building, constructing various track, siding and platform improvements and extending West Street.

On Friday, state Department of Transportation officials said they would chip in $15.1 million that had never been allocated from the $545 million in federal stimulus money the state received in 2010 for high-speed rail projects. Also, the federal government is providing $6.7 million in "congestion mitigation" funds for the project.

State and local sources are picking up the remainder of the cost. Raleigh voters, for example, approved spending $3 million on the project when they passed a transportation bond last fall.

“This is a national model," North Carolina Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said. "We think people are going to look to Raleigh and say, 'They got it right.' We’re proud of that. We’re proud of the partnership that made it happen.”

Union Station, which is expected to open in 2017, would handle Amtrak, freight trains, high-speed regional service and commuter rail, as well as Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit buses. The station also will be a major stop on the Southeast high-speed rail corridor from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta.

"I may levitate I'm so excited about being here," Conti said with a laugh as he stood inside the old warehouse.

With an all glass front, shops and retail vendors, officials say it will be more of a destination than a train station.

"It's a landmark that will position Raleigh as the gateway to the South. It's a magnet for economic development," Federal Railroad Administration chief Joe Szabo said. “What this does is ensure that one of America’s fastest-growing regions will have safe, efficient transportation that will sustain your economic growth for years to come."

29 Comments

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  • dwntwnboy Sep 21, 5:08 p.m.

    We have to start somewhere. We can't just keep our heads in the sand and pretend like we can be a car-based society forever. Yeah, we will always have personal vehicles, but the day to day commute would be so much nicer if I could just hop on a train or bus instead of cursing and worrying about the driver next to me who is texting, drinking coffee and weaving in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds. With a well planned public transportaion system, it CAN work- look at bigger cities- NYC, DC, LA, ATL....yeah, we aren't them, but we can be LIKE them.

  • bill15 Sep 21, 4:53 p.m.

    Gingerlynn has a point: the current public transportation options aren't sufficient so we shouldn't fix that problem. I think she's saying that if your car is broken, you shouldn't have another option. Raleigh is becoming more dense all the time and as we double in population, we can sprawl twice as far (to Benson?) or we can increase density. Mass transit enables more density and the sooner you start the sooner you develop "better" growth patterns. "Better" unless you own an oil company.

  • gingerlynn Sep 21, 4:37 p.m.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. Besides, we are too sprawled out for mass transit to work around here. I work by the airport. Last week my car was in the shop. My commute is normally 15 minutes. I looked at the TTA route - 2.5 hours one way and three different busses (RTP Connector to transit station, TTA to DATA station and DATA bus home). The earliest I could arrive at work was 10am and I would have to leave before 5 to return! But I am sure this will solve ALL of our transportation issues.

  • bill15 Sep 21, 3:58 p.m.

    JustAName: ere's a nice forum about the cost of owning a car in NYC. What is the cost of $100k on vehicles that sit still spread out among 1.45 Billion trips per year?

  • bill15 Sep 21, 3:54 p.m.

    What is Just A Name talking about? NYC "haven't been able to get it to work in 150 years"? Their transit system is more popular than ever. Has he read the articles that show that people under 30 are trending away from purchasing cars and houses? Does he think it is un-American if people aren't obedient to the oil industry? "In 2005, the New York City Subway hit a 50-year record in usage with a ridership of 1.45 billion.[12] The trend toward higher ridership continued into 2008; MTA released figures that subway use was up 6.8 percent for January and February as higher gasoline prices encouraged riders to use mass transit over automobiles.[13]"

  • JustAName Sep 21, 3:16 p.m.

    "Investing in mass transit ideas now makes it cheaper for the future." - Mr. Middle of the Road

    Citation? Proof? Did you not see where I mentioned NY City is raising their fees by 15% and are wasting $100k on vehicles that sit still.?

  • JustAName Sep 21, 3:14 p.m.

    "why won't private sector do it?" - Mr. Middle of the Road

    They do. They develop the products.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Sep 21, 2:37 p.m.

    Hey, JustAName, if investing in STEM to encourage work from home is such a good idea, why won't private sector do it?

  • Save It Sep 21, 2:32 p.m.

    "Department of Transportation officials said they would chip in $15.1 million that had never been allocated from the $545 million in federal stimulus money the state received in 2010 for high-speed rail projects".

    Am I the only one who sees something profoundly wrong with this comment? 15.1 out of 545? What happened to the rest?

  • JustAName Sep 21, 2:11 p.m.

    "Or we could adopt republican strategy and stick our head in the sand and hope the crowded roads will get better on their own." -
    Mr. Middle of the Road

    Funny name for someone with so many left leaning views. If that $60 million was spent on educating STEM students, then more technology could be invented to help people work from home and not need to commute to work (hint: already happening)

    But, if you truly want to go your way with light rail and mass transit, please get all of those who agree with you to buy the 800 sq ft condos in downtown Raleigh, because you are going to need more people per square foot to make it work. A lot more. more than New York City, since they haven't been able to get it to work after 150 years.

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