On Friday, July 11, the Metropolitan Transit System's offices received the outstanding $500,000 lease payment from Pacific Imperial Railroad, the company that leases a portion of the binational railroad.
In a brief statement, MTS spokesperson Rob Schupp gave notice of the payment and said the board of directors will discuss the contract during their July 17 meeting. Accompanying the statement was a letter from MTS lead counsel Karen Landers to Pacific Imperial Railroad's president and attorney Donald Stoecklein.
"This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your $500,000 lease payment today. Pursuant to Section 8.1 of the agreement, by making this payment within the 10-day cure period, the Notice of Default/Notice to Cure issued by MTS on July 2 is deemed rescinded and this Agreement continues in full force and effect.”
The payment arrives at a tumultuous time for the railroad company and Metropolitan Transit System officials.
During the course of the past two weeks congressmen Duncan Hunter and Jeff Denham, both members of a congressional transportation committee, sent a letter to MTS chief Paul Jablonski demanding answers regarding the 99-year lease the public agency granted to Pacific Imperial Railroad. Their concerns stem from allegations that shareholders for Pacific Imperial Railroad are more interested in running a scam on investors than running freight on the nearly century-old binational railroad. Hunter and Denham also objected to the company's inexperience running railroads as well as the fact that no freight has moved on the line since the company assumed control.
MTS pushed back, stating that they weren't required to obtain numerous bids before entering into the contract with Pacific Imperial Railroad. The agency also imposed provisions that require the company to conduct repairs and move closer to transporting freight.
The July 17 meeting for the board of directors will start at 9 a.m. at 1255 Imperial Avenue, suite 1000.