A bi-partisan group of Pinal County and state leaders have thrown their support behind this proposed 950-acre project, a classification yard at which Union Pacific will sort rail cars thereby making its operation more fuel efficient and cost effective. The proposed Red Rock project is strategically located in Pinal County, which is bisected by two major interstates and adjacent to the Pinal Air Park and Phoenix and Mesa Foreign Trade Zones.
“This project would be a tremendous economic engine for Arizona. By being able to efficiently transport products to market, Arizona companies would benefit. It would bring immediate employment as well as sustainable, living-wage jobs,” said Pinal County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Pete Rios. “I am proud of my colleagues at the Legislature for recognizing the importance of this to the state of Arizona and to the West as a whole.”
“If we are serious about economic development and serious about growing jobs in this country, we have to have get serious about delivering products to consumption markets effectively and efficiently,” said Supervisor David Snider. “The Senate and House, by approving this resolution sent a message that they are serious. The critical next step is for the State Land Department to establish a process by which the state land can be auctioned or sold.”
Private sector investment will help get the economy moving again, Snider said. Union Pacific has made significant investments toward increased rail capacity such as laying a parallel set of tracks through Arizona. A fact sheet on Union Pacific’s website indicates that the company has invested more than $607.5 million in Arizona since 2007.
A classification yard is a way for the rail company to optimize efficiency and reduce the number of trips it makes hauling empty cars. Tucson and Flagstaff are Arizona’s biggest rail towns, with Phoenix in the middle. UP’s Tucson facility is land-locked and therefore cannot expand. The Red Rock project would enhance efficiency and create growth opportunities for Union Pacific while also creating jobs.
The project would be situated along Interstate 10, just north of Park Link Drive. The land at the site is nearly perfectly flat, making it ideal for construction of a consolidation yard.
Rios said that Union Pacific has been a good corporate citizen for Arizona by investing in the state and by working with Arizona’s cities, towns and counties to find solutions to problems or citizen complaints.
“I remain very confident that the Union Pacific’s proposed Red Rock Project will be good for Arizona and good for the West. This project will help Pinal County become a logistics hub for national and international commerce,” Rios said.
The next critical step is for the Arizona State Land Department to put the land up for auction. There is no specific timetable for that to happen but Chairman Rios and Supervisor Snider are hopeful that significant progress can be made this calendar year.