Union Station Amtrak renovation to cost $7 billion

(Photo: Thisisbossi/flickr)

The plans are both expansive and expensive, but a brand new look could eventually come to Washington's historic Union Station.

Proposed renovations to the venerable train station, which were introduced Wednesday in the District, would include the construction of dozens of shops, apartments and offices behind the main hall. It would eventually include the addition of nearly a dozen high-speed rail lines.

All of this comes with a price tag of nearly $8 billion, and Amtrak officials say that 50 to 80 percent of the funding will come from federal tax payer dollars.

"Some can come from the states, some from local governments and some from the private operator itself, but it has to come together as an overall deal," Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said.

The high-speed trains would drastically shorten the heavily-traveled commuter corridor that runs between New York and Washington. A nearly 3-hour journey would hypothetically be cut down to just about 94 minutes.

That has visitors and travelers excited about the prospect of zipping between the two cities by rail.

"The U.S. transportation infrastructure is due for an upgrade," New York resident Sebastian Castillo said.

However, officials and legislators warn that this renovation is a long way off.

"It's an $8 billion plan that will probably take 50 years," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said.

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