May 09, 2023

Van Hollen, Norton, Raskin, Ivey Urge Biden Administration to Provide Robust Funding, Expedited Timeline for Union Station Expansion Project

Today, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Congressman Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) led 15 members of Congress, including the entire National Capital Region delegation, in urging the Biden administration to provide robust funding and an expedited timeline for the Union Station Expansion Project (USEP), which would more than double the station’s current capacity. 

“Union Station is a central hub for regional commuters – including thousands from my state of Maryland – and a key transportation link along the East Coast. But for too long, this historic station has lacked the renewed investment needed to support its growth and success. We fought to pass the infrastructure modernization law to support infrastructure upgrades just like this and we’re urging the Administration to use this opportunity to fund the Union Station Expansion Plan without delay,” said Senator Van Hollen.

"Union Station is five blocks from the U.S. Capitol, serves as a transportation gateway to the District, and has historically welcomed more travelers per day than either Reagan National or Dulles International airports," Congresswoman Norton said. "Additionally, Union Station serves as the backbone connecting East Coast rail lines to the north and south. The USEP would provide the first infrastructure improvements to the station since the 1990s. We cannot delay the project indefinitely and ensure the station continues to function, so we must urge the Biden administration to fund and expedite the project." 

“Union Station connects our nation’s transportation networks to the Capital region,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin“The eagerly awaited Union Station expansion project will ensure that the station can continue connecting Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia to communities across the nation and significantly increase its capacity to serve American travelers coming to Washington. As a member of the congressional delegation representing our capital’s greater metropolitan area, I’m joining my colleagues in calling on President Biden to allocate the resources needed to see this exciting project through.”

“Funding Union Station fully is in line with the priorities the Administration has set out with the bi-partisan infrastructure law passed by the last Congress. It’s good for commuters. It’s healthier for the environment. It’s a positive impact on the local and regional economy. The history of this beautiful train station is filled with memories for members of Congress and the public at large, many from my district. I urge the Administration to renew its investment in the expansion plan of DC’s Union Station so future generations can make more memories here in the Nation’s Capital starting at this historic rail and transportation hub,” said Congressman Ivey.

Full text of the letter is available here and below. 

Dear Mr. President and Secretary Buttigieg:

We write to express our strong support for the planned renovation and expansion of Union Station in the District of Columbia, which will better serve the travel needs of residents and commuters in our districts.  The Washington Union Station Expansion Project (USEP) represents a historic transportation and economic development opportunity for the District of Columbia and the national capital region.  We urge your administration to provide robust funding for the USEP and to issue the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision by the end of this fiscal year.

Union Station is a vital local, regional and national transportation hub that, pre-pandemic, welcomed more than 100,000 travelers and visitors each day—more than either Reagan National Airport or Dulles International Airport.  Located five blocks from the U.S. Capitol, Union Station serves as a gateway to the nation’s capital, as well as the backbone that connects East Coast rail lines to the north and south.  Commuters and visitors rely on this station every day to get to work and to visit the nation’s capital.  It is the first and second highest ridership stations for the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) lines, respectively.

Amtrak, MARC and VRE are all expecting unprecedented growth in ridership, with demand estimated to reach two or three times higher than pre-pandemic levels by 2040.  Despite the growing role the station plays in transportation and regional connectivity, and the unique role it plays in the history of the District of Columbia, the station has not undergone any infrastructure improvements since the 1990s.  According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s own assessment, the predicted growth in ridership at Union Station will be constrained without infrastructure improvements. 

The USEP will bring much-needed restoration to the infrastructure behind the station, and also more than double capacity at the station and better meet the growing travel needs of residents, commuters and visitors to the nation’s capital.  The USEP will enhance our constituents’ transportation safety and access to intercity buses, rail, cycling and walking paths.  The project is essential for connecting neighborhoods, increasing equitable access to transit and combating our climate crisis by enhancing the availability of clean, multimodal transportation options.

D.C. has already committed $250 million to the reconstruction of the H St. Bridge, a project that is essential for the subsequent track reconfiguration element of the USEP.  Absent much-needed infrastructure improvements, Union Station will remain the region’s biggest chokepoint and will constrain transit improvements being made across the region.

Whereas nearly all multimodal transportation facilities are owned by state or municipal transportation entities, Union Station is federally owned and requires federal support to modernize its critical infrastructure, increase equitable access and improve rail and intercity bus facilities.  As we approach the 120th anniversary of its groundbreaking, we urge you to accelerate the EIS and provide robust funding to the USEP. 

Thank you for your consideration.