Supplemental DEIS released for Washington Union Station expansion

Washington Union Station expansionThe U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the Washington Union Station expansion project for which will accept public comments until July 6, 2023. The SDEIS assesses the potential impacts on the human and natural environment of a new Preferred Alternative developed in response to comments on the 2020 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  The institution has also released a Draft Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Programmatic Agreement and Draft Section 4(f) of the US Department of Transportation Act Evaluation.

The project would improve critical rail infrastructure to accommodate increased intercity and commuter rail service into the future. By reconstructing all tracks and platforms as well as providing new internal circulation space and amenities, the project would accommodate higher levels of train service.

The Washington Union Station expansion project would support Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) through-running trains and complement investments in intercity passenger service on the Northeast Corridor and south of Washington, D.C., including the Long Bridge project.

Buses are accommodated in the new preferred alternative with a new east-west bus facility, recognising their important transport service at the multimodal Union Station. The bus facility at Union Station provides convenient access for scheduled intercity travel and connections for visitors to the District of Columbia.

In response to comments received on the 2020 DEIS, the new preferred alternative substantially reduces parking and places it and other vehicle functions including pick-up and drop-off below the tracks. By placing vehicles below ground at substantial cost, the preferred alternative creates more opportunity for commercial development and public space above the tracks.

These and other changes were requested by the District of Columbia and other stakeholders. Reduced parking revenue and an expanded station require new sources of income to maintain and operate the station. FRA looks to the governments of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and others to become funding partners for the Project and to ensure the continued viability of the station.

A Union Station expansion project delivery and governance study has been launched by InfrastructureDC (IDC), in partnership with the District of Columbia Government on May 11, 2023. FRA is pleased to participate in this study that can bring regional stakeholders together to support the expansion of Union Station. The study will assess how best to complete the Union Station expansion project, a critical next step in its modernisation and transformation into a world-class multimodal, transport facility.

The Washington Union Station expansion project, along with Burnham Place, the 3 million square feet of private air rights development over the rail yard and behind the historic train station, will transform the U.S. capital and the greater Washington region’s transport network. Today, Union Station is the second busiest train station in the country and serves more people than each of the three regional airports.

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