Pima County Government Logo
  • Increase font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Print
  • RSS
  • Event will celebrate Port of Tucson improvements

    Apr 29, 2016 | Read More News
    Share this page
    Port of TucsonOfficials from Pima County and the Port of Tucson will celebrate improvements made to enhance businesses’ direct rail access to West and Gulf Coast ports at a ribbon-cutting event taking place Thursday, May 12, 9-11 a.m. at the Port of Tucson. A $5 million TIGER 2013 grant provided high-speed rail switches and other rail infrastructure improvements on the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) mainline. 

    The Port of Tucson’s existing intermodal container rail export facility is located in the City of Tucson, west of Kolb Road and adjacent to the UPRR Sunset Corridor Mainline. Since 1996, the Port has provided a transportation and logistics center to assist businesses in southern and central Arizona, as well as northern Mexico, with access to rail and intermodal container transportation options.

    Among those speaking at the event are: C.J. Karamargin on behalf of Congresswoman Martha McSally; Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson, District 3; Supervisor Ray Carroll, District 4; Supervisor Ramón Valadez, District 2; Alan Levin, Owner and Founder, Port of Tucson; and Wes Lujan, Vice President-Public Affairs-West, Union Pacific Railroad. In addition, a video message from Victor Mendez, Deputy Secretary of United States Department of Transportation, will be played.

    The container rail export facility, with its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, stimulates trade and business relationships on both sides of the border. It also enables the region’s businesses to access the Asian Pacific seaports through the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach as well as private facilities.

    Prior to the project, unit train operations at the Port of Tucson faced a number of challenges. Past deliveries of long unit trains had resulted in delays on adjacent roadways and impeded traffic on the Union Pacific mainline. 

    The project has extended the UPRR Wilmot siding and installed high-speed powered switches to eliminate the need to slow and stop arriving trains. The Port of Tucson had already installed a double-loop track so it could simultaneously unload and reload trains to prepare commodities for international markets. Union Pacific has also added a new mainline switch to increase flexible operations at this site to further take advantage of the Tiger Grant improvements at the Port.

    This expansion of the Port of Tucson’s infrastructure east of Kolb Road will facilitate higher speed access between the Union Pacific mainline and the Port of Tucson’s International Intermodal yard and provide the region with improved access to international trade via ocean containers.

    The project has had numerous benefits to the area:
    • Diverting truck traffic to rail, which results in lower fuel consumption, less pollution, and less traffic congestion; 
    • Offering lower and more competitive freight rates that are opening global markets for manufacturers, exporters of all commodities, and rural Arizona and New Mexico and Sonora, Mexico’s maquiladoras; 
    • Providing a central location and seamless transaction for Sun Corridor businesses to access West Coast and Gulf Coast ports for export to Asian, European and South American markets; and 
    • Eliminating traffic delays and improves safety at nearby railroad crossings.
    Directions: The event entrance is on Valencia Road, adjacent to and west of the Goodwill Building on Valencia. It’s approximately 0.87 miles east of Kolb Road and nearly 1.4 miles west of Old Vail Road. Look for directional signs and staff, who will assist with traffic guidance and event area parking.

    Return to Pima County FYI