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Friday, May 03, 2013    

Columbus Plaza rehab project improves access to D.C.'s Union Station


Federal Transit Adfministrator Peter Rogoff was among federal and Washington, D.C., officials on hand yesterday to cut the ceremonial ribbon that marked the end of a renovation project at Union Station's Columbus Plaza.

The $10.8 million project received nearly $5.9 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The project is one of several initiatives aimed at positioning Union Station as a "cutting edge" multi-modal transportation hub and retail destination, FTA officials said in a press release.

FTA funding helped provide roadway, sidewalk and security improvements, and new traffic patterns that improve access to the station for pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit buses, taxis, tour buses and private vehicles. The project's remaining costs were covered by the Union Station Redevelopment Corp., the National Park Service, District Department of Transportation and Amtrak.

In 2012, Amtrak announced a master plan to transform the station over the next 20 years into an expanded facility with the capacity to accommodate high-speed, intercity and commuter-rail improvements.

"In operation for more than a century, Union Station is the second busiest intercity rail hub in the nation and the busiest station in the D.C. Metrorail system," Rogoff said. "We must continue to invest in modernizing and upgrading transit facilities like this one across the country to meet rising demand for safe, reliable and efficient transit choices."

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