Senate OKs renaming 30th Street Station for Gray

The renamed "William H. Gray III 30th Station" honors Bill Gray, who represented Philadelphia from 1979 to 1991 and died in July 2013 at age 71. During his tenure in Congress, he secured millions to help renovate the iconic station.
The renamed "William H. Gray III 30th Station" honors Bill Gray, who represented Philadelphia from 1979 to 1991 and died in July 2013 at age 71. During his tenure in Congress, he secured millions to help renovate the iconic station. (Ebony Collection)
Posted: August 02, 2014

WASHINGTON - The plan to rename 30th Street Station for former Philadelphia U.S. Rep. Bill Gray is heading to President Obama for his signature.

The Senate, in one of its final acts before a five-week recess, late Thursday approved a bill to rename the station "William H. Gray III 30th Street Station." The Senate approval, by unanimous consent, was confirmed by Senate Democrats' Twitter feed Thursday night, hours after the Senate had concluded its formal voting and left for its August break.

The plan would honor the late Democratic congressman, who represented Philadelphia from 1979 to 1991 and died in July 2013 at age 71. During his tenure in Congress, Gray secured millions of dollars to help renovate the iconic station and was the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee and the first to serve as majority whip, the third-ranking position in the House.

Gray was also a longtime pastor at Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), who succeeded Gray as the representative from Pennsylvania's Second District, sponsored the plan to change the name and won support from every Pennsylvanian in the House. Sens. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) cosponsored a similar measure in the Senate, though the Senate simply passed Fattah's bill Thursday night. It had cleared the House by a voice vote earlier in the week.

The station opened in 1933 and was Amtrak's third busiest in 2013. Fattah has said that most people would probably still call it 30th Street Station, but that markers inside would recognize Gray and his work.

Renaming an Amtrak station is not unprecedented. In 2011, Amtrak renamed its Wilmington stop the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station. It is still generally known, however, as the Wilmington station.


jtamari@phillynews.com

@JonathanTamari www.inquirer.com/capitolinq

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