Billionaire businessman Carlos Slim will cover the costs of repairing a Mexico City Metro line that partially collapsed last month, President López Obrador said Wednesday.
Slim’s company Carso Infrastructure and Construction was involved in the construction of Line 12, an elevated section of which gave way on May 3 as a train traveled over it. Twenty-six people were killed.
López Obrador told reporters at his regular news conference that Slim offered to foot the repair bill during a meeting at the National Palace on Tuesday.
“He came yesterday to tell me that he’ll take charge of the reconstruction of the entire [elevated] section, taking care of all the necessary safety [measures] without it costing the people anything, without asking for anything from the [federal] budget. That’s his commitment,” he said.
The president said that Slim’s company would reach an agreement with the Mexico City government to begin the repair work soon so that Line 12 can reopen within a year.
“I think him and hopefully other business people will behave the same way,” López Obrador said.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum also said she was happy with Slim’s commitment to pay the repair costs.
“This decision is very important for the residents of Mexico City and in particular everyone who uses Line 12 of the Metro, which will be repaired with the resources of the engineer Carlos Slim and his companies,” she said.
Slim told reporters on Tuesday that he was willing to pay for the repairs but denied that the line was poorly built, as the preliminary results of an independent investigation into the overpass collapse indicated.
“I’m convinced because the best engineers of Mexico built it, they did the calculations and the design,” he said, adding that international experts inspected the line and confirmed its quality in October or November of 2012.
“I’m convinced that it didn’t have defects from the start,” Slim said.
“As you know [the line] worked. Millions of people have traveled on it; 400,000 a day, that’s 12 million a month, 144 million a year. Millions of people have traveled on it, there was a lot of impact on it, 12 earthquakes of more than 6 magnitude, I believe,” he said.
“Yes, [the collapse] is a tragedy but we’re convinced that [the line] didn’t have any problem in the beginning.”