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Ground Broken for Raleigh Union Station

Breaking ground in Raleigh

Federal, state and local dignitaries gathered to break ground for Raleigh Union Station. L-R: Amtrak Senior Manager of State Corridors Jay McArthur, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Carlos Monje, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, Congressman David Price and North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Anthony Tata. Photo courtesy of the city of Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C.—On May 8, 2015, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane gathered with local, state and federal leaders to break ground for Raleigh Union Station, a new multimodal transit center designed to serve the capital region well into the 21stcentury. Invited guests included Congressman David Price, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Anthony Tata, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Carlos Monje and Jay McArthur, Amtrak Senior Manager of State Corridors.

Union Station, contemplated in planning documents since the 1990s, is a significant component in the city’s draft downtown master plan. Located in the Warehouse District, the new facility will replace the smaller Cabarrus Street station originally opened in 1950. Due to years of growing ridership, the existing station has become too small.

Jay McArthur speaking

Jay McArthur of Amtrak stressed the mobility and connectivity provided by intercity passenger rail.

In January 2012, the mayor and the city council endorsed a recommendation by the city’s appointed Passenger Rail Task Force to adapt the former Dillon Supply warehouse west of downtown to serve as the centerpiece of the new multimodal transportation center. Union Station will house Amtrak and local, regional and intercity buses, while also providing opportunities for future expansion to accommodate proposed commuter and high-speed rail services.

The $79.8 million project includes rehabilitation of the Dillon Supply warehouse, track and platform construction and signal and switch improvements. Featuring dramatic, high ceilings, the renovated building will have a waiting hall, ticket counters and an area for retail storefronts and restaurants. The station’s grand opening is expected to occur in 2017.

The city, state Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and Triangle Transit worked to assemble a diverse funding package. Raleigh won two Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants totaling $38 million, and it has also allocated $18.75 million in city funds. NCDOT contributed $9 million in matching funds and facilitated the redirection of $15 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act monies. Triangle Transit is providing an in-kind match of the Dillon Supply warehouse and the land.

Raleigh Piedmont service train

A Piedmont Service train departs Raleigh in 2012.

Raleigh officials believe that the multimodal center will function as the hub of a new mixed-use district with residential, retail and office units as well as space for cultural institutions. It will also link downtown with the historic Boylan Heights neighborhood and other residential areas to the west.

“Raleigh’s Union Station signifies the wave of the future: an America that includes revitalized downtowns, increased mobility for people wherever they live and work, reduced traffic congestion and cleaner air, and smart public policy that brings all levels of government together in support of diverse modes of transportation,” noted Congressman Price in his remarks.

In Fiscal Year 2014, more than 161,000 passengers began or ended their journey in Raleigh, which is served by the Silver Star (New York-Raleigh-Tampa-Miami) and the state-supported Piedmont (Raleigh-Charlotte) and Carolinian (New York-Raleigh-Charlotte) services.