Rep. Gosar Introduces Bipartisan Bill Paving the Way for Economic Development in Flagstaff, AZ

For Immediate Release

Date: February 24, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing 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:

“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. 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be utilized for important economic development and will not revert back to the federal government as a result of an outdated provision from the 1860's. Specifically, this important legislation will allow for commercial development of this land to move forward, including restaurants,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.” 

Following introduction of the legislation, Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours stated, “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. 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.”

Following introduction of the legislation, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) stated, “I am always glad to work together and solve problems -- it's part of our job as representatives. Our legislation will cut red tape and boost Flagstaff's economic development, and that fits right in with my vision for a stable, diverse economy across Arizona.”


The full text of H.R. 4601 can be found HERE

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) joined Congressman Gosar in introducing this legislation and was an original cosponsor.

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)