Joseph Szabo, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration, visited Raleigh's warehouse district this morning to announce an additional $22.3 million in federal funds that will complete the cost of a a $60 million replacement for Raleigh's outmoded, dinky Amtrak station. [2pm update: see Matt Garfield's story from today's announcement.]
It's not new money. There is $15.1 million that was part of $545 million in federal stimulus (ARRA) money for fast-train improvements, announced in 2010. The $15.1 million was a small part of that big package that was not designated in advance for a particular project. And another $6.7 million (not mentioned by Szabo today) that had been marked for track improvements in that same original $545 million package.
This money is added to a $21 million federal TIGER grant -- which WAS new money -- that Raleigh won in June. Plus $466,000 announced today, to help with preliminary engineering costs.
So the feds are covering $43.3 million of the $60 million cost to build the first phase of Union Station in the former Dillon Supply Viaduct Building near the corner of West and Martin streets, just a block from the planned Citrix Systems headquarters office. Raleigh has pledged $6 million. Triangle Transit is contributing the Viaduct building itself, worth $1.4 million.
And the state DOT has pledged to cover the remaining $9 million, something DOT officials forgot to mention when I spoke with them this week.
Allan Paul, who oversees rail operations for the state Department of Transportation, said construction should start by January 2014. He said he hoped Amtrak could move to its new Union Station home in 2016.
This first phase of the city’s Union Station project will serve as Raleigh’s new Amtrak depot, replacing the cramped and busy station a few blocks away on Cabarrus Street. Planned expansions in the future will also make Union Station a hub for rush-hour commuter trains between Durham and Garner, city and regional transit buses, and possibly a light-rail line.