[EXCLUSIVE] Year passes, still no Red Rock decision on Union Pacific facility

Red Rock

Red RockBy Phil Riske, managing editor, Rose Law Group Reporter

On July 12, 2013, the Arizona Senate Republican Caucus announced a one-year study period to investigate the sale of state trust land for use by Union Pacific (UP) for a switching yard just north of the community of Red Rock.

It’s now 13 months later and no decision by the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) whether to sell a 950-acre tract of trust land, which would end the frustration of Pinal County officials, who have waited years for the project to get on the tracks.

The Union Pacific’s Red Rock Classification Yard project continues to move ahead, say state and local officials, in a positive direction with hiring of consultants.

But the state now says setting a date to auction the property won’t be until later this year or early in 2015.

A false alarm went out earlier this month when a erroneous notice of auction (seen at top) surfaced, followed by an apology and explanation from a state land official.

“Sorry for any confusion, Bill Boyd told Rose Law Group Reporter. “We have been receiving a lot of inquiries that seem to stem from someone incorrectly concluding that the document  . . . was an actual auction notice.”

From what Rose Law Group Reporter understands, auction notices are prepared in advance per the agency’s procedures. This one got loose, leaving people to believe auction of the state trust land critical to the Red Rock project had been set.

“The answer is no, ASLD and UP continue to work toward an agreement,” Boyd said. The ‘Auction Notice’ on that flyer is a placeholder for a hyperlink. When there is an actual auction scheduled, it will become a hyperlink to the actual auction notice.”

Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios told Rose Law Group Reporter on Tuesday despite delays, optimism prevails.

“County officials are very encouraged that the ASLD will give the green light to proceed with the land auction quickly,” Rios saod.

The land department has hired RBF, a national planning, design and construction firm, to examine the technical issues surrounding the Red Rock project Union Pacific also hired an outside firm to assist with the analysis.

The proposed rail site on property managed by ASLD and located southeast of the Picacho Peak area along Interstate 10 in southern Pinal County, comprises more than 950 acres, and the estimated construction costs of the yard, plus the cost of the land itself is $300 million. An estimated 300 railroad employees will be working at the site.

This classification yard would be an economic boon not only to southern Pinal County but to all of Arizona. Many state, county and other local officials believe that the Red Rock Classification Yard will be the catalyst for many transportation, logistics and manufacturing projects to occur along Interstate 10 from Casa Grande to Marana, an area located in the very heart of the Arizona Sun Corridor.

“Many detailed engineering, environmental and economic impact studies have been conducted already with a few more to go in order for the ASLD to be satisfied that auctioning the land for the project is in the best interests of the residents and tax payers of the State of Arizona,” Rios said.


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