Amtrak proposes changes for Union Station

Amtrak proposed a $7 billion plan to revitalize Union Station (DC) that would triple passenger capacity and establish an intermodal hub for high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. The proposal, outlined in a master plan released Wednesday, calls for new tracks, platforms, passenger concourses, and station entrances that will be incorporated wtihin the facility’s footprint and preserve its historic features.

Still, The Washington Post observes, the plan is long on vision and short on practicality:

But what the proposal lacks is a vision for financing the plan, which even in stages probably would require huge government funding commitments. Joseph H. Boardman, Amtrak president and chief executive, said in an interview that the rail line is reimagining what it will take to make rail a vital, viable part of the region’s transportation infrastructure.

The master plan also includes a public-private partnership to build Burnham Place (named after Union Station architect Daniel Burnham) at an additional cost of $1.5 billion, which will include 3 million square feet of retail, commercial, and residential space built in the air rights over the rail yard. Amtrak wants to phase in all the improvements over 15-20 years and argues that the project will create $14.3 billion in direct and indirect regional economic benefits. Link to full story in The Washington Post.

Image source: Amtrak

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