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Business & Economy

Labor Shortages And High Material Costs Push Raleigh's Union Station Budget

An illustration of the plaza outside the proposed Union Station.
The plaza outside the proposed Union Station would serve as a public gathering place and would offer lease options for shops and offices.

A shortage of skilled laborers and rising costs of materials is pushing Raleigh's proposed downtown train station over its $44.7 million budget.

Richard Kelly, Raleigh's interim public works director, said despite combing through budget items and weeding out high bids, the project is going to cost another $10 million to complete.

Union Station would be a bus service hub that replaces Raleigh's smaller train station. Kelly said the outdoor plaza will also function as a civic area with space available for lease by businesses.

"It really serves as an economic development facility for the Warehouse District here in the City of Raleigh, Kelly said. "Whatever may happen with other types of rail service in the future, beyond just what currently exists, this facility will be postured in such a way that the city can respond to that."

Kelly said the station could become compatible with the proposed light rail if Wake County developers decided to incorporate the station into its transit plan.

Federal and state grants will cover about $25 million of the project's cost. Raleigh has already agreed to put up $19 million for the station.

City Councilman Bonner Gaylord said he would like to delay construction on some parts of the project to put off expenses, but ultimately he wants the plan to move forward.

"This is a crucial project for the city," Gaylord says. "The existing train station has been far smaller than we need. We need a new train station that's going to be a gateway for our great city."

The Public Works Department will update the City Council on the project on November 3.

Union Station is scheduled to open by fall 2017.


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