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Tourism fund chief Jiménez. Tourism fund chief Jiménez.

Initial contracts have been signed for Maya Train project

The route has also been extended to take in a port in Campeche

The first contracts have been signed for the Maya Train project, the general manager of the National Tourism Development Fund (Fonatur) announced yesterday.

The consultancy Steer Davies Gleave has been engaged to prepare a master plan for the 1,500-kilometer passenger rail service that will run between Cancún, Quintana Roo, and Palenque, Chiapas.

Fonatur’s Rogelio Jiménez Pons said contracts have also been signed with the professional services firms Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The former will be involved in organizing the real estate investment trusts and the latter will prepare a cost-benefit analysis.

The contracts were signed without going to tender due to a short timeline, Jiménez said, but bids will be sought on other parts of the project that will be undertaken this year.

He said that completion of the initial steps, including the master plan, financial planning, environmental impact studies and consultations with indigenous communities, will require a 1-billion-peso (US $51-million) investment.

The train’s route has been extended more than once since it was first announced, and Jiménez announced another during his presentation about the train at Exporail 2019, an international conference of the railway industry held this week in Mexico City.

The line will be extended some 30 kilometers to reach the port of Seybaplaya, Campeche.

The government has estimated the entire project will cost between 120 billion and 150 billion pesos, although a think tank warned last week that deficiencies in planning could result in a cost 10 times higher.

The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness report was based on an analysis of 23 similar rail projects around the world, including the still-incomplete Toluca-Mexico City commuter rail line.

Source: Milenio (sp), Sin Embargo (sp)

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