The federal government has coughed up funds to resume work on the Mexico City-Toluca passenger train, a project left unfinished and over-budget by the Enrique Peña Nieto administration.
Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú announced the allocation of 500 million pesos (US $25.5 million) toward completion of the second phase of the project, which includes a railroad network stretching from the Metro Observatorio station to the business district of Santa Fe.
In the meantime, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced that the federal government would shoulder all remaining costs of the work.
On June 13, the two officials signed an agreement that went into effect today to resume work on the project within 15 days and that the second phase will be completed no later than December 31 of this year.
They also agreed that weekly advances in the progress of construction and the use of the funds will be provided in a weekly report to overseeing authorities and the Mexico City comptroller’s office. Additionally, the two capped the amount of federal funds permitted to be spent on the project’s administrative costs at 1%.
In his Monday press conference, President López Obrador reaffirmed his promise that the train will be completed in 2020. He added that the federal government will need to spend an additional 30 billion pesos on the project.
“We cannot just abandon this project because, as I have been saying, it has meant an investment and spending from the federal budget, which is the people’s money.”
The 57-kilometer railway, which is expected to cut commute time between Mexico City and Toluca to just 39 minutes, has been delayed by protests, construction problems and legal problems. It was originally scheduled to be completed by December 2017.