Local News

Planned Raleigh transit hub loses some DOT funding

Posted June 13, 2013

— The state Department of Transportation has reneged on a promise to use $15 million in federal funding on a 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.

Construction of Union Station is projected to cost $60 million, but Raleigh officials will have to downsize the plans or come up with another funding source after DOT officials said they have already spent the money earmarked for the terminal.

Transportation Secretary Tony Tata outlined the problem Thursday, noting that the state received $29 million in uncommitted funds in 2010 as part of $520 million in federal stimulus money for high-speed rail projects. A former DOT official said Raleigh could have $15 million of the uncommitted funds for Union Station, but the Federal Railroad Administration said rail upgrades between Raleigh and Charlotte had already consumed the money.

"NCDOT takes its funding commitments very seriously, including those made by former employees under previous administrations," Tata said in a statement. "Unfortunately in this case, funding was overcommitted by one person against FRA mandate and staff recommendations."

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.

Raleigh received a $21 million federal grant a year ago to help pay for the first phase of improvements, including renovating the building, constructing various track, siding and platform improvements and extending West Street.

The federal government also is providing $6.7 million in "congestion mitigation" funds for the project, and state and local sources were to pick up about $17 million of the $60 million cost.

10 Comments

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  • raleighboy524 Jun 14, 11:28 a.m.

    Government has no legisimate role in the business of transportation. Should be an all-private enterprise.

  • kdawg Jun 14, 10:03 a.m.

    "Didn't take Tony Tata much time to get a bit of revenge on Wake County."

    I was thinking the same thing.

  • shakenbake68 Jun 14, 8:33 a.m.

    Who is Tata talking about with this quote?

    "Unfortunately in this case, funding was overcommitted by one person against FRA mandate and staff recommendations."

  • whatelseisnew Jun 14, 8:32 a.m.

    So apparently not enough taxpayer money has been stolen yet to subsidize the choo choo train station.

  • corey3rd2 Jun 13, 7:00 p.m.

    Didn't take Tony Tata much time to get a bit of revenge on Wake County. Guess him and Art Pope had a good laugh about this "sorry" memo.

  • superman Jun 13, 6:41 p.m.

    If they didnt get this money a ticket from Raleigh to Charlotte would cost 10,000 if they had to include the cost of the terminal. It is past time to analaze the cost of the building and the return we get on the investment. Let people take a bus.

  • beaupeep Jun 13, 5:26 p.m.

    Why don't they just raid the Highway Trust Fund, as usual?

    Oh, wait.....that's the OLD way of doing business.

    My bad.

  • sunshine1040 Jun 13, 4:27 p.m.

    Federal government is not providing anything. The money is coming from taxpayers. Same with so called state money neither federal nor state government sell a product or service that earns them money

  • Frank Downtown Jun 13, 3:50 p.m.

    It would be nice to have everything in one location instead of spread out around town.

  • JustAName Jun 13, 3:44 p.m.

    Time to scrutinize the contractors and determine why it cost so much to do projects. Seems like they are just trying to suck the money cow that is the State of North Carolina dry.