Washington DC – U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, in support of an investigation into the Desert Line railroad and the current lease agreement with Pacific Imperial Railroad (PIR). Currently, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) leases the non-operational Desert Line to PIR. A collection of evidence—now with the U.S. Attorney for review—raises serious questions and concerns about the lease agreement and PIR’s activities.
“The evidence that has accumulated against PIR and Desert Line lease is troubling,” said Representative Hunter. “The railroad is a public asset and anytime there are allegations or there is evidence of unlawful activity in a situation like this—it is necessary that the proper legal authority determines the facts through its ability to obtain relevant documentation and testimonial evidence. Among other things, PIR has falsified and misrepresented its assets to attract investors while the company remains on the profitable side of the lease agreement.
Representative Hunter’s letter states, in part:
“Whenever a public asset is either being misused or mismanaged, or as allegations are presented, it is critical that the necessary steps are taken to ensure the public trust is upheld and the asset in question is neither a liability nor exists to perpetuate unlawful activity.
“The Desert Line will be an international railway on a troubled land border. An operational Desert Line, even with security protocols in place, can still facilitate criminal activity, including drug smuggling, into the U.S. A functional Desert Line must be safe and secure—and it is absolutely necessary to fully determine the capability of PIR to effectively maintain and operate the railroad.”