Voters gave resounding support to the Maya train project on the Yucatán peninsula and nine other proposals in a public consultation held over the past two days.
The organizers of the consultation, an initiative of incoming president López Obrador, told a press conference this morning that 89.9% of participants voted in favor of building the railroad that will link cities in five states in Mexico’s southeast.
Just under 950,000 people – around 1.1% of the electoral roll – cast votes in the two-day consultation that sought opinion on 10 “priority programs” of the López Obrador-led government that will take office this Saturday.
A proposal to develop a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans received 90.9% support while the plan to build a new oil refinery on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Tabasco was backed by 91.6% of voters.
The seven other proposals on the ballot also all attracted more than 90% support.
They were to plant fruit and timber trees on one million hectares of land; double the pension of adults aged over 68; offer scholarships and work training to 2.6 million disadvantaged young people; grant scholarships to all public high school students; offer pensions to people with disabilities; guarantee medical care to all citizens; and provide free internet coverage in public places such as squares, medical centers and schools.
Jesús Ramírez, spokesman for the incoming government, said the consultation cost 2.4 million pesos (US $116,500) and was paid for by lawmakers from López Obrador’s Morena party.
The public vote was the second held by the incoming administration following a referendum on the new Mexico City International Airport in late October.
The president-elect subsequently announced that the partially built US $14-billion project would be cancelled.
But despite warnings that holding more public consultations would create further economic uncertainty and affect both domestic and foreign investment in Mexico, delegating decision-making to the people appears set to be a feature of the new government.
López Obrador said last week that he will also put the question of creating a national guard to yet another public consultation that is slated to take place in March.
Source: El Economista (sp)