A toll highway in Mexico: they're unconstitutional, organization charges. A toll highway in Mexico: they're unconstitutional, organization charges.

Citizens’ group slams ‘excessive’ road tolls

It also charges that toll highways are dangerous and in bad condition

Mexico’s toll highways are costly, dangerous and in poor shape, according to the non-governmental organization National Citizens’ Observatory (ONC).


In an opinion piece published today in the newspaper El Universal, the ONC argues that the cost of traveling on the nation’s toll roads is exorbitant with charges as high as 3.61 pesos (almost US $0.20) per kilometer.

High tolls make transporting goods and getting to work, home or a tourist destination an excessively expensive exercise, the ONC charges.

It also says that the costs infringe on citizens’ right to travel freely through the country as provided for in article 11 of the Mexican constitution.

However, the ONC points out that nowhere does it mention that one’s personal financial situation may preclude them from exercising their right to freedom of movement and therefore concludes that the lucrative business of operating toll highways is unconstitutional.

To illustrate its three-part claim that highways are “costly, dangerous and in poor shape,” the ONC cites the Peñón-Texcoco highway in the northeast of the Mexico City metropolitan area as a prime example.

When the 16.5-kilometer highway opened in March 1993, the toll was seven pesos. Twenty-five years later, that cost has risen to 47 pesos or almost three pesos per kilometer.


Despite the price hike, the road hasn’t been adequately maintained, the ONC charges, adding that it has become too risky to travel on.

The organization attributes its current poor state to the hundreds of heavy vehicles that travel on the road on a daily basis to transport construction materials to the site of the new Mexico City International Airport. Accident rates have increased significantly, the ONC claims.

The organization also cites the numerous problems of the Cuernavaca Paso Express, of which the appearance of a sinkhole in July last year that trapped a car and killed both occupants is the most prominent and tragic.

The highway linking Mexico City to the capital of Morelos had opened just three months earlier.

The ONC is also critical of the company OHL, which operates the Circuito Exterior or Outer Loop Road in the state of México and recently raised tolls for the second time in just six months.

Yet paying high tolls in Mexico provides no guarantee that roads will be kept in a condition that leaves them safe to drive on and it is even less likely that any of the money motorists pay will be reinvested in projects that benefit Mexican families, the citizens’ group asserts.

“In general terms, the concessions granted to operate the main highways are nothing more than a multi-million-peso business that benefits the few but worries millions,” the op-ed concludes.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • jdwfinger

    time and time again people forget that any money for the roads is STOLEN.
    Come on, this is Mexico, why is there stories that ignore that EVERY MEXICAN STEALS.

    • I beg your pardon. I am Mexican, and I do not steal.

    • DreadFool

      hey finger, you better censor yourself, after completing High School that is.

      • Crewlaw

        Fortunately the ‘Block Idiot’ button means I don’t have to wait for him to censor himself. Life is too short to indulge the kind of person who goes to a site devoted to Mexico news just so he can shriek at the brown people.

  • cooncats

    Absolutely spot on. Mexican toll roads are a rip off and a racket. They are just another example of how government here exists for one purpose and one purpose only, as a feed bag for overpaid under talented bureaucrats and elected officials whose sole mission is felony theft of tax monies. Why did tens of millions flee Mexico to go to the U.S. and find work? Why is economic growth one third of what it should be? Government in Mexico is organized crime, that’s why.

    • Sharl

      About the same as in the US….

      • cooncats

        But not the entire country, far from it. Mainly on the east coast where those liberal governments take everyone’s money and spend it on everything but essential services. Texas has them too but it is the only place I’ve ever seen where toll roads are opened up once paid off.

        • Parque_Hundido

          Roads are never paid off, genius. All roads should be toll roads.

        • MortimerSnerd

          Coon the one and only toll road in British Columbia known as the Coquahalla was ‘opened up’ 5 or 6 years ago… the mortgage had long been paid off, no more $10 toll.. Canadians do not like toll roads or toll bridges. They are considered political poison. Too bad Mexicans have embraced them.

  • WestCoastHwy

    Once Mexicans can manage to get themselves out of a wet paper bag, they might be able to advance themselves to something greater!

  • MortimerSnerd

    Highway 15D is a joke south of Los Mochis.. the libre is in far better shape and the distances are about the same… what’s the point in spending $100 or so to travel a rough road to Guadalajara? The only decent bit is around Mazatlan, a worthwhile detour. But elsewhere the toll booths are infested with bored Federale cops looking for a mordida opportunity. What’s the point?

    • DreadFool

      that’s the point, pues.

    • Crewlaw

      “…the only decent bit…”
      I don’t know about ALL the autopistas in Mexico, but we have been using the one that gets us from Michoacan to Guadalajara for many years and have never found it to be anything other than smooth fast and efficient. Never been asked for or paid a mordida either.

  • Not mentioned in the story is what I consider one of the biggest issues with the newer toll roads. It seems that Mexico has switched from the original four-laners to two-laners. Every new autopista that I’ve seen in recent years is two lanes. Put a Mexican driver on a two-laner, tell him it’s an autopista, and you have a very perilous situation. Passing on curves, hilltops, etc., at 200 kph. Then there’s the absurd custom of driving on the shoulder. I have actually seen signs on two-lane autopistas that say “slower traffic stay in right lane.” But there is no freaking right lane, just the shoulder. Absurd. I imagine these new two-laners are due to the fact of being cheaper to build.

    • cooncats

      Very good point Felix, just reaffirms what a racket these roads are. However using the shoulders to allow people to pass is standard driving procedure in the north of Mexico and really does help improve the safety of these inherently unsafe roads. I wish people would follow the same practice down here in central Mexico.

      This near total reliance on never paid off toll roads just reaffirms what a failure government is here. The result is people, and particularly those over weight, undermaintained and dangerously driven trucks going over to the free roads, beating them to death and killing a bunch of people in the process.