The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has, for the first time, given written approval for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to amend the Piedmont Improvement Program cooperative agreement to provide the city of Raleigh an additional $15 million for the Raleigh Union Station project.
“Our team has worked closely for months with the Federal Railroad Administration to identify additional funding as we remained committed to helping build this vital station,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We stayed engaged with city leaders throughout the process, but we had to ensure the money was available and that our existing agreement was properly amended.”
On September 19, NCDOT received a letter from the Federal Railroad Administration, under USDOT, approving a request to reprogram $15 million from another Piedmont Improvement Program project to be used for Raleigh Union Station.
“I want to thank Secretary Tata for his leadership and our partners at NCDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration for making this happen,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “Raleigh Union Station will spur economic growth and continue the revitalization of an historic area of downtown. Also, the additional rail projects will better connect the Triangle to Charlotte and many points in between.”
A thorough review to align Piedmont Improvement Program projects within budget showed NCDOT would not be able to complete the necessary environmental assessment, right-of-way acquisition and work for a previously planned project under the required timeline for using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Instead, those funds will be shifted to complete several additional PIP projects to enhance connectivity between Charlotte and Raleigh including a new maintenance facility in Charlotte and the new station in Raleigh.
The additional $15 million is expected to close the gap needed to build the station that will serve as a hub for rail and bus transit. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2015.