Contact: Angela Gates
WASHINGTON – Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today attended the ribbon cutting for the completed renovation of Union Station’s Columbus Plaza, a $10.8 million project that received nearly $5.9 million in funding from the Department’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Administrator Rogoff was joined at the ceremony by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and others.
“Union Station is the gateway to our nation’s capital and an important part of President Obama’s vision for a revitalized Northeast Corridor,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This investment in Columbus Plaza is part of a long-term effort to transform Union Station into a transportation hub that’s ready to provide 21st century rail services to meet the needs of millions of travelers who pass through this station each year.”
FTA funding helped provide roadway, sidewalk and security improvements, and new traffic patterns that improve access to the station for pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit buses, taxis, tour buses and private vehicles. The remaining costs were covered by the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), the National Park Service, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Amtrak.
“In operation for more than a century, Union Station is the second busiest intercity rail hub in the nation and the busiest station in the D.C. Metrorail system,” said Administrator Rogoff. “We must continue to invest in modernizing and upgrading transit facilities like this one across the country, to meet rising demand for safe, reliable, and efficient transit choices.”
The Columbus Plaza project is one of several initiatives that will continue to position Union Station as a cutting edge multi-modal transportation hub and unique retail destination. Amtrak announced in 2012 a Master Plan to transform Union Station over the next 20 years into a world-class facility with expanded capacity for future high-speed, intercity and commuter rail improvements. In addition, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is working with Amtrak and USRC to expand Metrorail station capacity and design improvements to the 1st Street entrance to provide a direct link to intercity bus service and new streetcar service. DDOT expects to begin operating the streetcar along H Street and Benning Road in late 2013.
President Obama’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014 includes $9 billion in immediate transportation investments to bring aging transit facilities around the nation into a state of good repair through the Administration’s “Fix it First” initiative.