District of Columbia Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has called for a federal audit of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), citing the need for a "definitive audit of [USRC's] financial viability and management" as plans for the station's renovation continue.
"Assessing the financial condition of this asset is necessary ... to avoid another cycle of the disrepair that once led to the shutdown of the facility,"Norton wrote in a letter sent jointly to the Department of Transportation with West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall.
The letter requests clarification on a number of issues related to the ongoing renovation of Union Station, including USRC's lease of the station's retail space to Askenazy Acquisition Corporation.
"Because this lease is the primary means of support for USRC, it will be important to know whether the terms meet the long-term needs of USRC and allow it to be self-sustaining," Norton and Rahall wrote.
The letter also touched on the issue of a purpose-built bus terminal. Current renovation plans call for the construction of a bus deck in the station's parking garage. The letter noted that five intercity bus companies currently operate out of Union Station, but "the use of the existing bus deck is not a permanent solution and long-term plans for full intercity bus service have not yet been developed."
USRC was formed in 1983 after Congress passed the Union Station Redevelopment Act. That act authorized the Department of Transportation to form a non-profit corporation to guide the renovation and redevelopment of the station, which had fallen into disrepair over the preceding decades.
In addition to the construction of a bus deck and rehabilitation of the station's retail space, redevelopment plans call for the expansion of Amtrak waiting areas, expansion of MARC and VRE services, expanded access to the Union Station Metro station, renovation of Columbus Circle, expansion of the station's concourse, and the construction of a three-million-square-foot mixed-use development named Burnham Place after the station's architect, Daniel Burnham. That development would be located over the Union Station rail yard.