VRE approves new $23 million parking garage as ridership down 93%

Virginia Railway Expres will move ahead with plans to design a new 544-space parking garage in Manassas Park.

The new garage will be built next to the next to Manassas Park City Hall, located at One Park Center Court. A total of 116 spaces on the ground level will be reserved for use by the city, while the rest of the spaces will be reserved for commuters. Virginia Railway Express documents state:

VRE will be responsible for the design and construction of the parking garage. VRE and the City of Manassas Park will continue to collaborate on the design and construction of the parking garage to ensure the City of Manassas Park’s parking level is constructed in conjunction with the construction of the garage.

The City of Manassas Park will be responsible for all costs required to advance the parking garage project to 60% design including, but not limited to, all costs incurred prior to the execution of the agreement necessary to advance the project to a 10% conceptual design consistent with a Letter of No Prejudice from the City of Manassas Park dated April 9, 2020. Upon reaching 60% design, VRE will expend a maximum amount of $1,169,270 to advance the parking garage project from 60% design to 100% design, which represents the funds remaining under the VRE’s Standard Project Agreement (SPA) with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) for Final Design of the Manassas Park parking garage project.

VRE will expend a maximum amount of $23.5 million for construction of the parking garage using I-66 Outside the Beltway (OTB) concessionaire funds previously awarded to VRE. The City of Manassas Park will be responsible for all construction costs in excess of $23.5 million. If the projected cost for construction of the parking garage exceeds $23.5 million, the City may request VRE to permit the City’s development partner, Norton Scott, or its contractor, to construct exterior portions of the Garage project. VRE and the City will work cooperatively to identify portions of the Garage project that can be separated from the work being done by VRE’s contractor and be constructed separately by the City’s development partner or its contractor.

The parking garage is the latest expansion of parking at the Manassas Park commuter rail station. When VRE service began in 1992, the city provided 300 parking spaces for riders to use.

After ridership grew, the city gave VRE about five acres of land to expand parking at the station, and VRE paid for the cost of the expansion lot.

The announcement of the new garage comes at a time when average daily ridership numbers on the commuter rail line are in the basement. A total of 1,300 trips were made on the system last month, down 93% from the previous year. Currently, the system is operating at 5% of its total capacity, according to this month’s VRE CEO report.

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