Mérida, Yucatán — If the Mexico City airport expansion is stopped, the Maya Train could be derailed before it even begins, warned the federal tourism secretary.
Enrique de la Madrid said that if president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador gets his way and cancels an elaborate airport expansion, funding for a Tren Maya in Yucatán will be in peril.
The train line was promised by AMLO during his campaign, and after his election-day victory, he expanded the proposal, linking several cities throughout the peninsula, including Mérida and Valladolid.
The federal official attended the inauguration of the Ibis Styles hotel, which is adjacent to the Galerías Mérida mall.
There, he declared that the idea of the Mayan Train proposed by López Obrador is attractive because it would capitalize on the millions of visitors who enter Mexico through Cancun.
But as citizens “we lack information on costs, returns and profitability,” said de la Madrid.
The new airport is already under construction. If the new Mexico City International Airport is canceled at this point, it could affect the country’s debt rating, causing it to pay interest rates on increasing debts. Many international funds could stop investing in the nation, he said.
“Nobody will invest in a country where investments are not respected. If we want a train, we need an airport, “he said.
López Obrador has called for a referendum in October to determine the future of the new Mexico City International Airport. The US$13 billion project has faced pushback due to potential environmental costs and allegations of corruption.
In a press conference held last week, the president-elect referred to the project as a “bottomless pit.”
The results of the public vote would be binding, López Obrador said.
If the project is canceled, the government will reportedly prioritize the continued use of the existing airport and the refurbishment of an old military base as a secondary hub.
Sources: AFP, La Jornada Maya