Raleigh train station to receive makeover

June 22, 2012 3:39:24 PM PDT
The Raleigh train station is getting a makeover, thanks in part to a $21 million federal grant.

Not only will the tracks get a major improvement, a Grand Central Station-style transportation hub is planned to be built in the city's warehouse district.

State officials said the rail hub would be the first component of Union Station, which would provide service to local, regional, and Greyhound buses, a commuter rail line and future light-rail system.

The new building would replace the city's current Amtrak station on Cabarrus Street.

The project is centrally located, in between N.C. State's campus, Glenwood South, and within walking distance to the Capitol.

Raleigh leaders asked the federal government for $60 million and were in competition with 848 applicants. The U.S. Department of Transportation ultimately chose 46 projects. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his staff spoke to ABC11 on why Raleigh was one of the city's chosen to receive the multi-million dollar grant.

"We think there's pretty extraordinary leadership in the community," said LaHood.

"This is a real signature project in this round, one we're very excited about, expanding the train stations in that part of the country. We think this is a terrific project," Assistant Secretary U.S. Department of Transportation Polly Trottenberg said.

City officials said Raleigh's total project is expected to cost around $75 million, with the awarded $21 million going to track renovations first.

"You can't make the station happen without doing the track work first," said Eric Lamb, Raleigh's transportation planning manager. "This (money) is not going to get us the station. This is going to get us starting on the station."

Opponents of the project said this is not the time to push rail improvements. Instead, they would like to see changes made to what they feel are more immediate transportation needs, such as busses.

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