Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Springfield Monday to formally announce the final piece of funding for the city’s Union Station project. Plans call for the transformation of the long-shuttered downtown train station to an inter-modal transportation center. New England Public Radio’s Adam Frenier reports.
The final 17-point-6 million dollars for the 45-million dollar project will come from the Federal Transit Administration. Plans call for a complete renovation of the facility, which will also include a parking structure. In addition to rail service, Peter Pan Bus Lines and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will also shift operations to Union Station from the nearby bus terminal. LaHood says the project will have a positive economic impact on Springfield.
“This becomes another economic engine for Springfield. creating a lot of permanent jobs. So the jobs that are created for the people that will renovate the facility, but the permanent jobs that are created for the people that will work. The small businesses that will be created all around this area will be long-lasting jobs.”
A separate project to upgrade passenger rail service between Vermont and New Haven, Connecticut is scheduled to start this summer. It is anticipated Springfield, which sits on the route to be renovated, will see an increase in rail passengers as a result. LaHood says the Union Station project is another step in the continued effort to improve train travel in the Northeast.
“We have put a lot of emphasis on high speed rail and on transit. This becomes another connection for us to board trains and go all along the Northeast Corridor. “
The project, which will start with the demolition of a baggage warehouse, is slated to BEGIN this fall. For New England Public Radio, I’m Adam Frenier.