Amtrak Calls for $7 Billion Overhaul at Union Station

Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012 11:02 AM

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Amtrak is calling for $7 billion to triple passenger capacity at Washington’s Union Station and transform the iconic structure in a high-speed rail hub for the Northeast corridor, The Washington Post reported.

The station, opened in 1907, is just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol and is visited by 32 million people each year, drawn not just by trains but by the shops and restaurants in the structure. Union Station’s trains, including the high-speed Acela Express, travel up and down the East Coast, north to New York and Boston and south to Atlanta and New Orleans. Trains to points west are also available as well local commuter lines, a link to Washington’s subway and bus lines.

The expansion plan calls for doubling the number of trains at the station. Amtrak President Joseph Boardman told the Post that the “problem that we have is that we’ve got a lack of balance and investment in a mode that moves a lot of people, that is an environmentally responsible mode, and that changes the way that people are going to be able to travel in the future with the technology that is available today.”

Much of the expansion would be below ground with the addition of new platforms, tracks and shopping. Six of the new tracks would be dedicated to high-speed rail. A $1.5 billion office, residential and hotel development is also planned by developer Akridge, which paid $10 million in 2006 for the right to build above the tracks.

“We are now finally getting to see the potential for what Union Station should be,” Akridge President Matthew Klein told the Post.
Funding for the plan is as yet uncertain, according to the Post.

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