An Early Christmas Gift: Gosar-McCain Jobs Bill Signed into Law

Dec 24, 2016 Issues: Economy and Jobs

For Immediate Release

Date: December 24, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017 which included a Gosar-McCain sponsored bill H.R. 4601, legislation that will resolve a non-controversial legal hurdle allowing for the pursuit of new economic development projects within the City of Flagstaff:

“Arizonans can celebrate an early, bipartisan Christmas gift this year in the form of new jobs and economic growth in Flagstaff at no cost to taxpayers. I’m proud to have worked closely with Senator McCain, BNSF Railroad and the City of Flagstaff to pass this important legislation into public law. This commonsense bill will ensure that private land is utilized for commercial development and will not revert back to the federal government as a result of an outdated provision from the 1860’s. As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, it is critical that federal law supports economic growth and not impede job creators from building a stronger Arizona.” 


H.R. 4601, legislation introduced by Congressman Gosar, was included in S.2943 as section 2824 and signed into law on December 23, 2016.

S.2943 includes important funding for our troops and their missions. Congressman Gosar strongly supports our men and women in the military and voted in support of both versions of the NDAA that passed the House this year. 

This legislation is endorsed by the City of Flagstaff, which requested that this legislation be introduced, and BNSF Railroad, the two affected parties in this legislation.

The Railroad Act of 1866 granted land to various railroads for establishment of a large rail network to deliver goods throughout the United States.  When the land was given to the railroads from the Federal Government, the Act included a reversionary clause which stated that the land would revert back to the federal government if it wasn’t used as part of the national railroad network.

In 2006, the City traded land of equal value (a little less than 15 acres each) with the BNSF railroad.  The land exchange was appraised using federal standards.  The purpose of the trade at the time was to allow for construction and expansion of the Fourth Street Bridge. Shortly after the City obtained the new parcel, it was sold to a developer.  

Currently, the reversionary clause on the original BNSF parcel still exists. The developer that purchased the original BNSF parcel from the City cannot get title insurance on the land because of that reversionary interest clause. This bill simply transfers the reversionary interest clause from the original BNSF parcel to BNSF’s new parcel.  Such action will resolve the title insurance issue and allow for important economic development to occur within the City of Flagstaff.


Parcel 1 14.98 Acres of Recently-sold City Land (Originally the BNSF Parcel)
Parcel 2 14.79 Acres of BNSF Acquired Land (Originally City Parcel)