Yes, the city's first concept for Union Station got folks excited. But not as much as NCDOT's offer to pay 90% of costs to renovate the Viaduct building (a block further south) serving AmTrak, commuter rail and high speed rail. The Viaduct station renovation would be completed in as little as three years, then given to the city. The Council realized that a $40M+ bird in the hand is worth a whole lot more than an unfunded concept a block away.
The Viaduct station will be a block or two further from the proposed light rail platform on Morgan Street, but that also makes it a block or two closer to the Amtrak and commuter rail platform. The difference is that the Amtrak platform is real, while the light rail platform is decades away - plenty of time to think about a better location nearer the Viaduct/Union Station.
The lesson of the Viaduct deal? The Union Station concept is good and can be realized in a number of ways, but only if real, funded development projects step up.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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