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maya train route map The three legs of the Maya Train: the gulf leg in ivory, Caribbean in green and jungle in orange. Existing track is indicated in solid yellow. New construction is shown in dotted yellow.

Governors are on side with new government’s Maya train project

Project to be finished in four years 'without excuses or delays'

The governors of the five states through which the proposed Maya train will run have thrown their support behind the president-elect’s ambitious plan to build a railroad linking cities including Cancún, Mérida, Campeche and Palenque.

At a meeting with Andrés Manuel López Obrador yesterday in Palenque, Chiapas, the governors of Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Yucatán, as well as the successful candidates who will replace three of them later this year, agreed to work together to complete the project within four years and “without excuses or delays.”

Over the next month, the current and incoming governors will work with the incoming government to fine-tune the details for the tendering process, which López Obrador intends to launch soon after he is sworn in as president on December 1.

The president-elect estimates that between 120 billion and 150 billion pesos (US $6.2 billion – US $7.8 billion) will be needed in public and private investment to complete the railroad, which he described as a national rather than government project.

“It’s a project that we consider essential and strategic for the nation. It’s not a project of the federal government or the governors, it’s a project for the republic, a national project because it also involves citizens, civil society, the private sector and authorities of the three levels of government,” López Obrador said.

He added that foreign companies would be invited to bid for project contracts but stressed that Mexican companies would be given priority.

“There is a great interest in other countries for Mexico to do well, so that our economic growth increases from 2%, so that we achieve at least 4% [growth] . . .”

Rogelio Jiménez Pons, tapped by López Obrador to head up the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), said that consultation with indigenous communities that will be affected by the construction of the 1,500-kilometer railway has already begun, adding that care will be taken to ensure that the impact on the environment is minimal.

Jiménez also said that the project is already practically half-built because it will make use of existing tracks between Palenque and Valladolid.

Alejandro Moreno, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governor of Campeche, gave a particularly glowing assessment of the infrastructure plan which is intended to boost the economy in southern Mexico.

“We all look very favorably upon the project because it’s a turning point for the integration of the [Yucatán] peninsula. It’s a new opportunity for the south and southeast to strengthen ourselves in tourism,” he said.

“It’s a grand federal government project that arrives at a good time. We will support [the government] to obtain the right of way and in whatever else corresponds to us, we will back it with commitment.”

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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