DOT Celebrates Grand Opening of Denver Union Station

The 17th Street Promenade forms the public realm connection between light rail and commuter rail stations, with bus terminal below. Image © Red Square

The 17th Street Promenade forms the public realm connection between light rail and commuter rail stations, with bus terminal below. Image © Red Square

DENVER – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo today celebrated the grand opening of Denver Union Station, a historic building that has been transformed into a multimodal transportation hub that includes a new bus facility and rail connections, and will significantly improve transportation options in downtown Denver and beyond. Administrator Szabo was joined by Governor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Senator Mark Udall, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, Mayor Michael Hancock, and other local officials.

“As the gateway to one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, Denver Union Station is not only transforming how the region moves, but it has transformed Denver’s economy by spurring nearly a billion dollars in private investment,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “We need Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill so we can continue to invest in more good projects like this transportation hub to meet the rising demand for more and better transportation choices.”

The new bus facility is part of a larger effort to redevelop Denver Union Station into a modern transportation center that integrates light rail, Amtrak, and new commuter rail lines with seamless connections to local, regional and intercity bus services. The bus concourse includes 22 bus bays to accommodate Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus routes, as well as free downtown circulator routes, and other bus services.

“Nationwide, revitalized stations are proving to be magnets for economic development,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “This project has transformed the city’s economy by spurring investment in the private sector, and has helped Denver’s construction industry add jobs and rebound from the recession.”

“We are proud to join with Denver to bring more world class transportation options to more than three million residents who live in the region,” said Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. “Projects like Denver Union Station and the Eagle commuter rail line will make a huge difference for hardworking families, students, and seniors who live in the metro area and need and deserve reliable transportation options to get to work, school and other opportunities.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have provided $87.3 million in grant funding toward the $479 million total cost of the Denver Union Station redevelopment project. In addition, the Department is providing approximately $300 million in loans from its Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program and the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program.

DOT also is providing $1 billion in FTA Capital Investment (New Starts) grant funding and a TIFIA loan of up to $280 million for the Eagle commuter rail project, which includes construction of two new rail lines that will serve Denver Union Station and are expected to open in 2016. The East Line will connect Denver International Airport to Union Station, and the Gold Line will connect to the western suburbs of Wheat Ridge and Arvada.

Denver Union Station’s renovation and the Eagle project are part of Colorado’s far-reaching FasTracks program that,according to the Denver RTD, will help spur the economy by attracting nearly a billion dollars in private investment. The project, a voter-approved, multi-year, multibillion-dollar transit expansion program covering 140 miles of rail and bus corridors will help the city successfully manage growth and compete for business for years to come.

The Obama Administration recently unveiled the GROW AMERICA Act, a bold $302 billion, four-year national vision for an aging transportation network and a growing population. The GROW AMERICA Act would invest $72 billion in public transportation alone to address the urgent transit challenges facing our urban, suburban and rural communities. The Act provides a nearly 70 percent increase in authorized funding for public transportation over the current transportation law, MAP-21.