López Obrador at yesterday's rally in Durango. López Obrador at yesterday's rally in Durango.

With consultation by a show of hands, AMLO cancels Durango transit project

The impromptu vote chose to spend the 450 million pesos on a hospital and the water system

An impromptu show of hands at a rally to distribute social program funds has cancelled a multi-million-peso transportation project in Durango.

President López Obrador announced the cancellation Sunday in Gómez Palacio, Durango, after most of those present — many of them transportation workers opposed to the Metrobús project — voted against it.

The president expressed his own personal support for the project but asked the crowd to vote.

“Nothing will be imposed on you,” he said. “The budget for the Metrobús is already approved but . . . if you decide you don’t want it, we’ll use the budget for something else.”

After the vote, López Obrador said the 450 million pesos (US $23.4 million) freed by the project’s cancellation will be used for improvements to a local hospital and the water system in Gómez Palacio.

“We’re going to work with the governor so that this money will be used for the hospital, or for water,” he said.

In a second show-of-hands vote, the crowd decided that the first priority should be improvements to the water system, while the second priority will be the Gómez Palacio General Hospital.

The Metrobús would have connected Gómez Palacio and Lerdo to another system in neighboring Torreón, Coahuila. It had been approved by the previous federal government, which promised 150 million pesos to support its construction.

But the López Obrador government had never embraced the proposal, and had been delaying the release of federal resources. It was also opposed by Durango bus drivers’ unions, who feared they would not be included in the new system.

López Obrador was introduced at yesterday’s rally by National Action Party Governor José Rosas Aispuro Torres, whose 20-minute speech drew catcalls from the crowd.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Economista (sp), El Siglo de Torreón (sp)

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