Federal Grant for Union Station Will Determine First Phase of Development

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Raleigh’s Passenger Rail Task Force met Wednesday morning to discuss the progress of Union Station — and the lack of funding that could make the proposed station smaller than anticipated.

Craig Newton, a facilities engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, presented the updated station master plan, which includes the complete viaduct building, plaza, rain garden, concourse and track improvements at a total cost of $73 million.

The initial estimate was $60 million. The project is funded at $30 million so far, from $21 million in federal grant funding and a $9 million NCDOT match.

That amount will cover phase 1A of development, which includes right-of-way acquisition for the west leg track realignment, at-grade crossing at Martin Street and the removal of the Cabarrus freight yard.

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It will not cover the cost of right-of-way acquisition for the station and site, a second station track, the center island platform and canopy, the platform concourse, the Dillion Supply Viaduct building or grade-separated crossings at Martin and West Streets and the West Street Plaza.

The project recently lost more than $15 million in funding after the NCDOT shifted that money to another project.

The NCDOT is waiting to hear back about a federal Tiger V grant, which could enable officials to move forward with one of four options for phase 1B.

Newton presented those options, each taking into account a different amount of grant funding: $6 million, $15 million, $28 million or $43 million.

For example, a partial renovation of the viaduct building would enable the city to double the size of the current station, but that requires at least $15 million from the federal grant.

Option three, which factors in $28 million from Tiger V, would pay for a civic plaza and entry at Martin and West Streets and a parking area.

City officials will know the federal grant amount by the end of September.

Meanwhile, a core management team led by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization continues to study safety, access and feasibility for at-grade crossings in the area.

The West Raleigh and East Cary Corridor Safety and Mobility Study includes Gorman Street in Raleigh to NE Maynard in Cary.

The group will complete the project scope of work by July 31 and meet again in August.

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