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Raleigh's Union Station project losing funds

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A former N.C. DOT official's premature pledge of funds has led to Raleigh's Union Station project facing a $15 million deficit.

The Viaduct Building on West Martin Street in Raleigh was supposed to be part of a $60 million makeover as part of the city's Union Station project, officials said in September.

"This is going to mean new jobs. More economic development -- more revitalization of the core of this region," said then-Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti.

WNCN News has now learned that approximately $15 million in federal funds are being pulled from the project to go towards other rail improvements in the state. 

N.C. DOT officials say former Deputy Secretary For Transit Paul Morris should not have promised that $15 million, which was a tentative amount, only to be given to the Raleigh project should the other rail project come under budget.

That other project, the Piedmont Improvement Program, needs the money. Officials say Morris should have issued those provisions in his letter of intent to the city of Raleigh when pledging those funds.

The N.C. DOT says current Secretary Tony Tata is working with Raleigh to find other fund sources to make both projects happen as planned.

The city manager says Raleigh is looking at other options as well -- from finding more funding to scaling back the project, such as opening a first phase of a new hub and expanding once more funds are available.

He does say, however, the design phase is moving forward regardless of funding.

The new Union Station project was supposed to replace the old Amtrak station, which sees more than 200,000 passengers a year. 

The project was to be completed by 2017, but now it's exact future is up in the air.

Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan is an investigative reporter and anchor with over a decade of experience. Jonathan has broken stories that have resulted in local and statewide change. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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