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Campaign begins to revive transpeninsular train project connecting Mérida and Cancun

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The Mérida-based Chamber of Commerce (Concanaco Servytur) has petitioned the president-elect to expand the Cancun-Palenque tourist train with a branch that reaches Yucatán.

José Manuel López Campos will present Andrés Manuel López Obrador a proposal to bring back the scuttled transpeninsular or Mayan train project.

The 40-billion-peso transpeninsular train project, canceled in 2015, would have been completed this year if construction went as planned. But budget cuts caused federal authorities to shelve the idea.

Now, the 110-mph rail line linking Yucatán state east to the Caribbean coast could again be on the table, paired with a 65-billion-peso tourist train that is set to begin construction in 2019.

The Cancun train is designed to bring tourism from the north to archaeological zones in Tulum, Bacalar-Xcabal, Xpuchil, Calakmul, Becan and Palenque.

Mexico’s railroads were privatized in 1997 and mainly offer freight service. Two passenger trains — the Tequila Express in Jalisco and El Chepe on the Chihuahua City-Los Mochis route — cater to tourists.

After meeting with the president elect, López Campos learned about the incoming administration’s decentralization plans. Three federal secretariats will move their offices from Mexico City. Tourism Secretariat (Sectur) headquarters may go to Chetumal, the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) might operate from Mérida and the Economy Secretariat could be headquartered in Monterrey.

But López Campos said those decisions are not final.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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