D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton wants the redevelopment and expansion of Union Station to be a priority in the next federal infrastructure funding bill.
With the Build Back Better infrastructure plan coming up soon in Congress, Norton wants Union Station to be on the priority list for funding.
The plan is estimated to have about $1 trillion for transportation projects.
“Union Station is a vital local, regional and national transportation hub that, pre-pandemic, had more than 100,000 travelers and visitors passing through it each day, which is more than either Reagan National Airport or Dulles International Airport,” Norton wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Norton said in the letter that, since Union Station is federally owned, and President Joe Biden has emphasized the need for greater investment in high-speed rail, the project should be included in the plan.
The Washington Union Station Expansion Project includes plans for a new bus garage, a new parking garage and new platforms and entrances. It would increase station capacity from 17.7 million to 42.2 million passengers each year.
“The SEP (Washington Union Station Expansion Project) is a historic opportunity to ensure that Union Station is a multimodal transportation hub that is seamlessly integrated into a thriving mixed-use neighborhood in the nation’s capital,” Norton wrote. “This goal can only be fully realized with federal funding.”
The project is estimated to cost between $5.8 and $7.5 billion and would take about 11 to 14 years to complete.
Norton said the station is crucial to the area, and the improvements are much-needed.
“Amtrak, MARC and VRE are all expecting unprecedented growth in ridership, with demand estimated to reach two or three times higher than pre-pandemic levels by 2040. However, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s own assessment, this predicted growth will be constrained without infrastructure improvements at Union Station,” she said.