MILWAUKEE – A new Milwaukee Intermodal Station has been dedicated, the culmination of a $17 million project.
The new station is served by 16 daily Amtrak trains, and the project transformed a former downtown rail station built in 1965 into a modern intermodal facility that will serve as the “gateway” to the city, officials said.
In addition to the seven daily Amtrak Hiawatha Service round-trips between Milwaukee and Chicago, the daily Chicago-Seattle/Portland Amtrak Empire Builder trains stop at the station.
Along with the construction of a new three-story, glass-enclosed “galleria” and other exterior renovations, the interior of the remodeled facility features a new lobby area serving Amtrak and intercity bus customers, as well as restaurant and other retail business opportunities. The second and third floors were also refurbished for new tenants, including the new State Traffic Operations Center.
“Today we are celebrating the completion of a new project; one that we know will have a positive effect not only for this station, but for the city of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, as well,” Gov. Jim Doyle said. “The Milwaukee Intermodal Station is already providing travelers with a stunning gateway to wherever Amtrak and our intercity bus partners go.”
Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisc., and Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., helped secure $7.4 million in federal funds for the project. The city of Milwaukee provided $6 million, and the state of Wisconsin allocated more than $528,000. Milwaukee Intermodal Partners, which is managing the new facility, contributed nearly $3 million to the remodeling effort.
“This station is a testament to what happens when federal, state and local officials work together,” Kohl said at the ribbon cutting. “For myself, and all the residents of Milwaukee, this station will be a source of pride. For visitors, it will serve as a reflection of our forward-looking, vibrant city.”
Amtrak ridership in Fiscal Year 2007 on Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee increased by 2.6 percent and is approaching 600,000 annual riders.
Amtrak operates seven daily round-trips on the route Mondays through Saturdays, with six round-trips on Sundays. The ridership gain on the Hiawathas is slightly more than the national Amtrak ridership increase of 2.4 percent and comes as Amtrak has made several improvements to the service with the Wisconsin and Illinois transportation departments. Amtrak operates the Hiawatha Service trains under contracts with the two states.
Within the last few months, Amtrak has increased the capacity of the Hiawathas by adding a fifth 68-seat coach to most trains. An improved selection of beverages and food is now being offered to passengers on more trains and additional Quik-Trak(SM) Ticket Express vending machines have been added at more locations.
Nationally, Amtrak ridership in Fiscal Year 2007 increased to 25,847,531, marking the fifth straight year of gains and setting a record for the most passengers using Amtrak trains since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation started operations in 1971.