U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has invited area leaders to a meeting in Washington D.C. to discuss their interest in purchasing the Amtrak station as the site for a new bus and train hub.

At the same time, LaHood and U.S. Federal Transit Administration officials will offer their feedback on a proposed deal using federal dollars to fund the project.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and CARTA Chairman Elliott Summey are among those who will attend.

At issue is whether the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority can sell 36 acres on West Montague Avenue and use the proceeds from the federally-funded project to buy the Amtrak station.

Summey planned to announce a deal at last Thursday’s CARTA board meeting to sell the West Montague property and purchase the train station. At the last minute, FTA headquarters put the brakes on the proposal, he said.

So far, $9 million in federal funds has gone toward a new bus and train passenger terminal on West Montague.

Riley said he requested the meeting with LaHood. The exact date has yet to be determined but it will happen sometime in the next two weeks, he said.

“I felt it was important that we get up there and meet face-to-face and answer whatever questions they have,” he said.

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