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U.S. willing to invest in Mayan Train, says Lopez Obrador

Funds would be part of a larger aid package for southern Mexico

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From left, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Mexican businessman and CEO of the Business Coordinating Council Carlos Salazar, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexican businessman Guillermo Vogel, and US Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue, after signing agreements in Merida. Photo: AFP

Merida, Yucatan — After a round of meetings with investors and U.S. government officials at the Hyatt Regency, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he has a new offer to help finance the Mayan Train.

Lopez Obrador said late Saturday that U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross conveyed a message from President Donald Trump saying “they are willing to invest and to help build the Mayan Train and other infrastructure in the southeast,” the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. has pledged $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico, a part of which would presumably go toward financing the train.

The $7.2 billion project would connect popular destinations such as Cancun with less visited archaeological sites including Palenque, in Chiapas.

AMLO has said the Mayan Train will be financed over six years through public and private investment, including tourism taxes that currently net about the equivalent of US$370 million a year.

During a dinner gala the previous night at a lavish hacienda, Mexican officials assured the guayabera-clad executives that their investments would be safe in Mexico.

Attendees said implementing the yet-unsigned trade pact between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico could help that.

“We are going to close ranks to win its ratification as soon as possible,” Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told the Associated Press, adding that officials were optimistic about announcing a number of investments derived from the dialogue.

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