13 On Your Sides Arlette Yousif takes a closer look at how this project could impact residents
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization (YMPO) is holding a two-day public open house in Yuma County to hear from the community about a freight rail plan while it’s still in its developmental stage.
YMPO conducted a study back in 2013 to determine the needs of Yuma County for years to come when it comes to resources and transportation of goods.
With the growth of the County’s population over the years, YMPO says it’s time to get this rail connected.
“We’ve had people all the way from the state department of Mexico city working down here from Sonora, from Baja, from our partners down in San Luis Rio Colorado. They’re stepping up and everybody’s making comments left and right. It’s really fantastic," says YMPO Senior Planning Manager Charles Gutierrez.
But not everyone is excited. Our large agriculture community says there is no need for the freight rail.
“Really as it’s proposed right now with the different options, we’re not in favor of any sort of railing going through Yuma Mesa and that land, but that’s why we came out tonight to make sure to look at the potential routes and complete the survey and make sure that our voice is heard,” explains Yuma County Resident Camie Vanhorn.
Vanhorn says there are some routes that are not as bad.
“Ideally, the best case scenario right now is the farthest east route so that it doesn’t impact any of the agriculture operations in the area,” says Vanhorn.
Gutierrez says YMPO is looking at the possible impact on the environment.
“We’re hoping that more produce comes across. Lessens the impact on our roads. [It] takes some of the EPA stuff away from the issues of the region,” explains Gutierrez.
Again, this plan is in the developmental phase.
The organization is still working on funding, economic analysis, and final drafts of the route before breaking ground.
If and when they do get the green light, it would still be at least 10 years before construction begins.
YMPO says they want to hear from you.
If you were unable to attend tonight’s open house, you have another opportunity at the Yuma County Public Works Facility Thursday, July 14, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.
Anyone who can not attend can still voice their opinion online.