City to request $300,000 for Amtrak relocation

By Tim Howsare

May 2, 2012 - 5:04 pm
The city is requesting a $300,000 grant from the Gila River Indian Community to help fund a project to relocate the Amtrak station. Photo by Tim Howsare.

The relocation of the Amtrak station to the Estrella Gin property has taken a step forward.

The Maricopa City Council voted Tuesday to request a grant for $300,000 in gaming funds from the Gila River Indian Community for design and engineering of rail siding for the Amtrak Station relocation project.

A railroad siding is a low-speed track section distinct from the main track.

The Amtrak station currently is located immediately northeast of the State Route 347 Union Pacific Railroad crossing. The station will be relocated to the Estrella Gin property, a 70-acre parcel where the city will build a new fire department headquarters and other facilities.

The Maricopa Amtrak station is the key station serving the Phoenix and central Arizona areas.

The Amtrak loading platform is about 120 feet east of the SR 347 crossing and will need to be relocated as part of the overall project because the current location will be used as an area for structural fill to raise the elevation of the road with respect to the Union Pacific Railroad, said Mary Witkofski, city grants manager.

The Amtrak rail line relocation phase will be a joint project between the city of Maricopa, Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak, Witkofski said.

Construction of the project will require Union Pacific approval, she said.

“Since construction of the project will involve extensive work within UPRR right of way, and proximity to UPRR train operations, UPRR will design and provide construction plans and specifications,” she said.” The typical time for UPRR to design this type of project is 12-18 months.”

Grant requests are are due June 30, and decisions are made by the end of October.

Council members approved two other requests for gaming-money grants. One for $100,000 for a third community cleanup and façade improvement within the Heritage District redevelopment area.

At its last regular meeting on April 17, council members tabled an ordinance to require Heritage District residents to comply with many of the same city codes as do homeowners and renters in the newer housing developments. The proposed ordinance was not on Tuesday’s agenda.

The third request was $23,000 for a second K9 unit and equipment for the Maricopa Police Department.

 

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