Walter Mencken 1 p.m., May 1
MTS banks payment on right-of-way lease to desert railway
San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System announced progress on Friday (June 21) on an agreement with Pacific Imperial Railroad, which seeks to revive the freight-oriented Desert Line railroad between Tecate and Plaster City, in the Imperial Valley east of San Diego County, whose 69.9 miles of track were originally laid by San Diego real estate mogul John D. Spreckels in 1906.
The MTS Board of Directors voted in December to approve a lease of MTS-owned right-of-way on the line for a period of up to 99 years. The first payment of $500,000, due July 1, was received earlier this month, MTS reports.
Pacific Imperial will now begin reconstruction work on the line, which is expected to take until December. Testing of the route should begin in January 2014, though it could be three years until the line begins operations and five years until it’s fully functional.
Another $500,000 is due MTS on January 1, 2014. Thereafter, lease payments will be the greater of $1 million or 15 percent of Pacific Imperial’s gross operating revenue for the duration of operations.