The Desert Line: The Railroad to nowhere

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It has been called the railroad to nowhere, the old Desert Line from San Diego to the rest of the U.S.

After years of controversy and chargers of mismanagement, the company that runs the railroad has suffered what appears to be a major setback.

Mexican authorities do not want to make a deal to allow trains to roll on their tracks south of the border.

Critics say the company running the railroad does not have a chance.

MTS, the rail line’s landlord, says they are willing to wait and see whether this ambitious project ever rolls out.

Now, at key decision maker is saying he wants answers.

Trouble on the old Desert Line goes back to 1903, when one of San Diego’s original industrialists, John Spreckles, drove the Golden Spike and opened the line.

It was suppose to be a corridor that would connect San Diego to the rest of America.

Calamities, both natural and man-made, left in ruin, and more than a century later, they are still trying.

San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit system is now the landlord.

The public utility has leased control of the Desert Line to Pacific Imperial Railroad.

Now, Mexican rail officials say they do not want to let PIR use the racks through their country.

PIR’s CEO Donald Stoeklein says it is not the end of things. Though he would rather work with Mexican rail officials, he says they are moving forward and have started a process.

That process is to use trucks to move freight past the 40-miles of Mexican Rail PIR cannot use.

MTS Board of Directors member David Alvarez is not buying any of it.

He’s launching his own investigation into MTS’s lease, and he says he is getting stonewalled by MTS.

David Alvarez isn’t the only one asking questions.

Now, members of Congress, most notably Rep. Duncan Hunter, are asking the U.S. Attorney General to investigate evidence the lease may be illegal.

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