From Troy Urman and Rachel Nania.
Attention all Borderstan travelers: Your future is looking bigger, brighter and faster.
On Tuesday morning, The Washington Post reported Amtrak’s proposed plans to overhaul Union Station, turning the country’s second-busiest rail hub into a center for high-speed rail and mixed-use development.
Amtrak’s $7 billion vision includes the addition of multiple below ground tracks, platforms and shopping, including six tracks dedicated to high-speed rails.
“The high-speed lines could mean travel times as short as 94 minutes to New York City’s Penn Station by 2030 — that’s 66 minutes faster than today’s Acela trains,” reports “The Washington Post.”
The plan also includes more than 3,000,000 square feet of newly developed retail, residential and hotel space over the tracks, bridging Capitol Hill to the recently re-developed and re-branded ‘NoMa’ neighborhood.
The original train station was designed by world-famous architect Daniel Burnham in 1907. It has since been expanded and refurbished, incorporating a shopping mall, food court and until recently, a below ground movie theater.
Today, Union Station sees more than 100,000 passenger trips per day, second only to Grand Central Station in New York City. The station also plays host to more than 30 million visitors annually, including shoppers, tourists and Washingtonians alike.
Although the plan has many supporters, including District Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), financing and funding issues remain critical concerns for the realization of this monumental undertaking that may change the gateway to our city.
So don’t pack your bags quite yet, but plan on (and hope for) many pleasant traveling experiences – coming to a platform near you.