U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is pushing a bill that would resolve a technical roadblock that officials say has stifled economic development in Flagstaff.
The bill would allow a local developer to procure title insurance for just under 15 acres of land that was originally owned by BNSF Railway. Under antiquated federal land regulations, the land is liable for reclamation for the federal government if not used specifically for railroad purposes, making the parcel a high-risk property for which the developer has been unable to get title insurance. Gosar's bill would remove the clause and allow development to move forward.
“This important bipartisan legislation will create jobs, bring in new revenues for the city and allow a private property owner to make use of their own property," Gosar said. "Our bill ensures that private land will be utilized for important economic development and will not revert back to the federal government as a result of an outdated provision from the 1860s. Specifically, this important legislation will allow for commercial development of this land to move forward, including restaurants, hotels and large-scale retail. I’m proud to have worked with my Arizona colleagues, BNSF Railroad and the City of Flagstaff to craft this commonsense legislation.”
Flagstaff officials thanked Gosar and his colleagues for introducing the legislation and said they hope the bill will makes its way successfully through Congress.
“I commend Congressman Gosar and Congresswoman Kirkpatrick for introducing this important piece of legislation that will allow us to finalize our land exchange with the railroad," Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours said. "This has been in limbo until this ambiguity in the law was clarified. I’m excited to work with our congressional delegation to push this legislation into law to resolve this issue once and for all.”