08/17/10 — Butterfield announces $500,000 for Union Station

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Butterfield announces $500,000 for Union Station

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 17, 2010 1:46 PM

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Congressman G.K. Butterfield announces that $500,000 in federal funds have been earmarked for the GATEWAY transfer station at Union Station in downtown Goldsboro.

Standing in the shadow of the shuttered historic Union Station, Congressman G.K. Butterfield Monday afternoon made it official -- the city will receive a $500,000 federal earmark to help build a new transfer station for the GATEWAY bus system.

Pointing to an old metal building just north of the old train station, Tasha Logan, Goldsboro assistant city manager, told those gathered that was where they could expect to see the transfer station.

Ms. Logan said the Union Station renovation project is close to being completed in terms of architectural drawings. As envisioned, Union Station would one day have rail as well as local and interstate bus traffic.

Miriam Perry, director of the Public Transportation Division of the N.C. Department of Transportation, thanked Butterfield and the community for embracing the project.

She said Union Station, along with the GATEWAY transfer station, would become "a one-stop shop for public transit."

Butterfield also used the brief ceremony to defend the much-maligned earmarks as ways to make a difference in a community.

Along with helping the city restore an historic landmark, the project will help provide jobs, and in doing so, give the economy a boost as well, Butterfield said.

"That is the point I want to make," he said. "This is not only historic preservation, but it is about creating jobs in the community and it is about increasing property values in downtown Goldsboro. It is about more traffic in the downtown area. The mere fact that we are restoring this train station, it is going to be a major economic driver in this community."

The $500,000 will require a 10-percent match, $50,000 from both the city and state. The amount is short of the $1.1 million that had been sought for the transfer station project that is expected to cost roughly $4.5 million.

Currently, the station is housed in an old fire station on Beech Street.

The city will be responsible for 10 percent of the project as a local match. If the project costs $4.5 million, the local match will be at least $450,000, Stubbs said.

The city has yet to commit the funding.

Butterfield reminded the audience that the $500,000 is actually the second allocation he has been able to secure for the transfer station. Last year, the project received $855,000.

For Mayor Al King, Monday's announcement was proof that a local delegation's March trip to Washington, D.C., was worth the effort.

"It is really hard to describe how important this renovation is," King said after the ceremony. "It is really going to anchor the western part of this area that has been so downtrodden. You can look around now and see the activity and how it is coming alive and it is because of this building here. Within the next 10 years, this area down here will be something very, very special."

King said the project has been a long time coming, but faster than he had thought it would. He said teamwork involving the city, state and Butterfield's office had enabled the project to proceed so quickly.

"We knew times were tough, but what the heck, let's give it a go," King said of the decision to approach Butterfield. "We went and asked and they were very enthusiastic about it."

In addition to the growd gathered to support the announcement, there also were a small number of protesters criticizing Butterfield and what they called excessive spending in Congress.

In his comments, Butterfield said his job description included trying to identify federal resources and to marshal those resources into the communities he represents.

"Earmarks have been used for many, many years in Congress," he said. "There have been some conversations about eliminating earmarks, which is something that I do not support. I support transparency in earmarks. I support full disclosure of earmarks, and I believe that members must stand by their earmark requests.

"I am opposed to corporate earmarks, which are something that we have already dealt with. Earmarks can be helpful to a community. We have succeeded now in getting two earmarks for this."

Butterfield is unsure if more money will be in the offing.

"I would hope so," he said. "But you must be mindful that we have a fiscal crisis at the federal level -- $13 trillion in debt. We are going to be $1.5 trillion in deficit spending this year so we have got to get spending under control. I don't know the future of earmarks at this point."