Wednesday, November 30, 2022 7:49 pm

Report: Money should drive whether state sells land for Picacho rail yard

By Alan M. Petrillo

Inside Tucson Business

It all comes down to the matter of money — at least as much money as Union Pacific Railroad might be willing to pay for state trust land it wants for a rail-switching yard near Picacho Peak.

That’s the assessment of a report consultants Gruen Gruen + Associates submitted to the State Land Department, recommending that if the department chooses to auction the 900 acres of state trust land the railroad has requested for the rail yard, it should value the land to reflect the costs of developing the switching yard, including costs of mitigation for an impact zone around the site and have Union Pacific provide infrastructure improvements to negate reduced values on adjacent state trust land holdings.

The land sought by the railroad — about 6 miles long and a mile wide — would accommodate a switching yard northeast of Union Pacific’s current right of way and west of Kodial Road, across Interstate 10 from the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho, and might contain up to 74 tracks at its widest point.

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