USRC 2013 InaugurationIn October of 1907, Washington, D.C.’s Union Station first opened its doors. Heralded as the largest train station in the world, Union Station ushered travelers to and from the nation’s capital with an experience grand in its scale and neo-classical design.

Yet the station’s glory days were tied to the success of the railroad, which in the 1950s saw its role in transportation supplanted by the airport runway and interstate highway. Passenger rail traffic dropped off to the point that in 1967 the government began the transformation of Union Station into the National Visitor Center. The center finally opened on July 4, 1976, but because of limited success it shut down five years later.

In 1981, after three years of debate and the station’s continued deterioration, Congress approved $8.1 million in funding as part of the Union Station Redevelopment Act. Then in 1982, Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole created the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), which oversaw the station’s restoration and renaissance as Amtrak’s corporate headquarters building and as a retail/entertainment center that is now an economic generator for the city of Washington.

USRC is a self-sufficient corporation that receives no federal funds and generates revenue through operation of the parking garage and management of the developer’s lease. The station has since been restored to its former stature and been adapted to meet the inter-modal transportation needs of the 21st century. The 90,000 to 100,000 people who stream through Union Station each day benefit from the USRC’s work during the restoration, and its continued oversight of Union Station’s operation.