Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently announced the awarding of a $6.643 million grant to improve the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (UPT).
“The Union Passenger Terminal platform is a big deal in the City of New Orleans, right in our core, right in our heart. This terminal was once a gleaming station of yesteryear, and now we are going to bring it back better than it’s been before, and that’s thanks to a strong partnership,” said Mayor Cantrell.
Union Passenger Terminal was built in 1954 during Mayor DeLesseps Morrison’s administration. Besides Amtrak, Greyhound Lines, Megabus, Flixbus and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority also use the 65-year-old facility.
Mayor Cantrell also thanked federal partners, including U.S. senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy; U.S. Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans), Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) and Garrett Graves (R-Baton Rouge); the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration; and local and regional partners including Southern Rail Commission, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and the Regional Planning Commission.
The Office of Transportation, created by Mayor Cantrell in her first month in office and led by Director Laura Bryan, supervised the grant process in working with federal partners.
Mayor Cantrell was also joined by representatives from the Office of Transportation, Amtrak, the New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC) and the Regional Planning Commission.
Funding for the project includes a $3.7 million federal grant, $2 million in matching funds from the City of New Orleans and the NOBC, and $943,000 in matching funds from Amtrak.
“Amtrak commends Mayor Cantrell and her leadership in seeking this federal grant for UPT, which we matched with $900,000 to make needed ADA improvements. New Orleans is one of two places on the Amtrak network where our customers change between eastern and western trains,” said Ray Lang, Senior Director, Amtrak Government Affairs. “This work will benefit our current customers and set the stage for more service to and from New Orleans with our partners at the Southern Rail Commission.”
The project includes upgrades to the terminal platform. This includes:
- Platform modifications: ADA compliance, level boarding for two Amtrak trains (Sunset Limited and City of New Orleans) and improve step height for the third train (Crescent)
- Level boarding will improve the station’s accessibility for nearly 200,000 annual passengers
- Increased reliability with improved updates, including expansion of the rail platform canopy, and updating the lighting, air, electrical and water systems
- Aids the City-assisted evacuation program (re-fencing and adding a gate for direct connection, trains for evacuation)
Work is scheduled to begin in 2020 and to end in 2022.