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Pacific Imperial Railroad Inc. (PIR) recently achieved several milestones in its efforts to revitalize the Desert Line from Imperial County, Calif., to Mexico-based manufacturing sites.The latest milestone was a $500,000 lease payment to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) for freight railroad rights on the 69.9-mile line between Plaster City, Calif., and the Mexican border at Tecate."We are encouraged by the progress this group has made to transform a historic rail line into a viable economic engine for the region," said MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski in a press release.Since MTS' board approved the Desert Line operating agreement with PIR in December 2012, PIR has submitted a proprietary business plan and reconstruction plan. The lease payment was submitted on June 11.PIR now will proceed with its reconstruction plan, which calls for assessing the condition of 57 bridges and performing necessary repairs, PIR officials said.Major steps planned for the next six months include the completion of initial repairs on the line and testing of trains. When completed, the line will provide a link for finished products moving between the United States and Mexico, PIR officials said.