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López Obrador greets fans after yesterday's airport meeting. López Obrador greets fans after yesterday's airport meeting.

Contractors accept airport decision; no legal action forthcoming: AMLO

Existing contracts will be terminated but there will be new work to follow

The companies that have been building the new Mexico City International Airport will not take legal action against the incoming government over the decision to cancel the project, president-elect López Obrador said yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting with contractors in Mexico City, López Obrador said the companies won’t seek to sue the new government, file injunctions against the decision or charge fines.

“There was no suggestion of that kind. There is no legal complaint, no injunction, in a nutshell, everything’s very good, they behaved very well,” the future president said.

López Obrador confirmed last week that his government would cancel the 285-billion-peso (US $14 billion) project in the municipality of Texcoco, México state, after a public consultation.

Around 70% of voters supported building two new runways at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base and upgrading the existing Mexico City airport and that in Toluca rather than continuing with the current project.

López Obrador’s announcement that the will of the people who voted — only around 1% of those on the electoral roll — would be respected was slammed by influential private sector leaders.

But according to the future president, the contractors and investors he met with yesterday, including the CEO of Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso, were more sanguine about the situation.

López Obrador said that that an agreement was reached to settle and terminate existing airport contracts, adding that contractors would have the opportunity to work on the project to adapt the air force base, upgrade the existing airports and rehabilitate the Texcoco site.

“They will have work without any problem because there will continue to be a lot. Here in Texcoco, there will be another project because the Nabor Carillo lake is going to be rescued. That area is going to be turned into an ecological and sports park,” he said.

Future transportation secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú, who also attended yesterday’s meeting, said the incoming government had committed to paying 40 billion pesos (US $2 billion) in unrecoverable costs to investors and contractors.

He also said that a new tendering process for future works would be held, dispelling concerns in some quarters that they could be directly awarded.

Hipólito Gerard of the construction company GIA said in a statement that the meeting with López Obrador was “purposeful, open and transparent,” adding that “GIA expressed its will to move forward in the termination of the [airport] project and its intention to participate in the new projects.”

Guadalupe Phillips, director of the construction giant ICA, said she respected the decision of those who voted in the public consultation and that she would work with the new government to ensure that the cancellation process is orderly.

“Hopefully that will be the best way [forward] for all the contractors involved,” she said.

Source: Milenio (sp)  

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