Through a $2,000,000 purchase and subsequent donations, Boise acquired about 18 miles of rail line from the Union Pacific in 2000. It was part of a grand “Industrial Park” development scheme of the previous administration at taxpayer expense.
The rail in question runs along the east end of Federal Way to the Union Pacific mainline in the desert near the Boise Stage Stop truck stop.
During the same time frame Boise councilors spent taxpayer funds to speculate on more than 200 acres of desert land near the Outlet Mall south of the airport. The land and the “Railroad to Nowhere” have been the source of a long political football game.
Sometimes the city is going to get out of the land speculation business and sell the land to fund libraries etc. Other times they are leasing land to avoid the laws requiring open bidding. No doubt about it, for better or worse they are aiming to attract more business and increase the population after using current taxes to fund improvements for new business interests.
The GUARDIAN obtained a CITY PRESENTATION on a potential freight train operation through the public information law. It was presented to the city council in June 2007. In September, according to TRAINS Magazine, the city of Boise filed for an application to operate freight trains on the 18 mile line. The city has quietly hired consultants and will be looking at improving the tracks at public expense. No telling who will get to drive the train.
If the tracks and industrial park were worthwhile, the Union Pacific would never have gotten rid of them. This looks like more of the obsession for trains.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.