Thanks to federal rail grants, more money will be coming our way to complete the restoration of King Street Station. Yesterday, WSDOT and the FRA (Federal Rail Administration) signed agreements to secure nearly $17 million from high-speed rail funds, adding to Washington’s impressive pool of federal money. According to WSDOT, a significant chunk of the money will go to cosmetic rehabilitation as well as utility upgrades:
The investment will strengthen King Street Station and its clock tower to better withstand earthquakes, as well as restore the historical features of the station’s main hall and upgrade electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems to modern standards. To restore the main hall to its original grandeur, the building’s white marble walls, decorative lighting and other features removed during “modernization” of the station more than 50 years ago will be rehabilitated or replaced, where possible. Also, improvements to both the Jackson Street and King Street entrances will significantly improve the public’s access to the station.
The news is welcome for anyone who supports passenger rail, the stations of which used to be the architectural gems for many American cities. Aside from the solely aesthetic considerations though, I think the next step to truly bringing the Station back up to its former grandeur will be to work on integrating the scattered components of the King Street Hub together, admittedly a much more difficult feat.