Denver’s Regional Transportation District was told Friday it will receive $304 million in federal loans to help fund the $480-million redevelopment of Denver Union Station.

The funds will come from a $151.6-million loan under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and a $152.1-million loan under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program. The funding constitutes 64% of the total project cost and will allow construction on Union Station to begin immediately.

“With this announcement, all funding for the Union Station redevelopment is now secured,” said Federal Transit Administration Chief Peter Rogoff. “Every element of the FasTracks project is at the center of Denver’s vision for its future. But it is also the center of President Obama’s economic recovery to put people back to work now.”

In addition to the TIFIA and RRIF loans, the project has received $28.4 million in funds under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, and the city of Denver has secured nearly $200 million for the project.

“This is real,” said Philip Washington, RTD’s new general manager. “RTD stands ready to act as stewards of this federal and local money. We plan for this project to come in ahead of schedule.”

The Denver Union Station project is a 50-acre public-private development venture that will serve as the FasTracks multimodal hub, including underground bus terminals, a light rail station for current and future routes and a commuter rail station that will serve Amtrak. Construction is expected to take four years.

The Denver Union Station Project Authority, a nonprofit formed by the city and county of Denver in July 2008, applied for the loans. The authority is a partnership between the city, RTD, the Colorado Dept. of Transportation and the DUS Metropolitan District.

Friday’s announcement comes on top of the President’s 2011 budget proposal on Feb. 1, which includes $40 million for the FasTracks West Corridor light rail line from downtown Denver to Golden, part of an existing $308-million commitment by the federal government to help pay for the line; $40 million for the Gold line from downtown to Wheat Ridge; and $40 million for the East line from downtown to Denver International Airport.

The Gold and East lines will receive a full funding grant agreement, Rogoff told city officials Friday.

RTD expects to award the estimated $2.3-billion public-private contract to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the Gold and East Lines—as well as the first segment of the Northwest line from downtown to Broomfield—in June, said Pauletta Tonilas, FasTracks public information manager.

After that, RTD will apply for more federal money for the Gold and East lines, according to Sherry Ellebracht, RTD's head of government relations. RTD hopes to receive up to $1 billion in federal money through a full funding grant agreement to help pay for the two lines.