21 | FEB | 2019
AMLO to expand Mayan train through public-private partnership
There will be a public investment of 7,000 million pesos a year for the construction of the Mayan tourist train, coming from the tourism tax fund - Photo: Irvin Olivares/EL UNIVERSAL

AMLO to expand Mayan train through public-private partnership

14/08/2018
14:11
Misael Zavala
Mexico City
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Today, President-elect AMLO talked about his austerity plan and the expansion of the Mayan train project

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to send to Congress a draft Law to implement a State austerity policy which encompasses all three powers of the Republic (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial), as well as other independent bodies, in order to put an end to the government officials’ luxuries and privileges.

In a press conference to present a project extension for the Mayan train, López Obrador was questioned on whether the austerity initiative would also seek to dismiss advisers in Congress.

Yesterday, EL UNIVERSAL published that 4,693 million pesos had been invested in the last three years to pay for advisers in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, corresponding to the 63rd Legislature, which will conclude on August 31st.

Under this scheme, both chambers had up to 2,259 advisers during the 63rd Legislature, representing a cost of over 4,693 million pesos, which is equivalent to financing Mexico’s Popular Insurance program for a whole year.

Regarding this subject, the President-elect indicated that he had also contemplated to cut down the expense on in-house advisory for the Congress of Union.

“We will [put an end to Congress advisers], because the initiative is meant to encourage an austerity policy for the State, and that includes public servers from all three powers. We will not just cut wages for high officials, we will also put an end to all of the government’s luxuries. I will send a draft law to address this issue,” the politician from Tabasco replied.

López Obrador stated that he had received several demonstrations of support regarding his austerity plan, which will not only apply to all three powers of the Federal Government, but also autonomous government institutions, seeking to save and free funds for development.

The politician from the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) political party claimed that the austerity measures were more a matter of principles than a mere administrative measure.

There must not be a rich government while its people live in poverty. There will be no private insurance services for high government officials, it’s as simple as that, we will save that money, and I hope that we can apply this on all three powers,” he claimed.

In a press conference at his transition house, located in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, the President-elect talked about his initiative to expand the Mayan tourist train project, which would include the states of Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatán, as well as the Palenque area, representing a 150,000 million pesos investment. The project will be financed through both private and public participation.

The bidding program for the project will begin on December 1 to conclude in four years time.

López Obrador’s technicians informed that the train’s right-of-way was still available, which is why they decided to expand it from 900 to 1,500 kilometers.

Originally, the Mayan train project was meant to pass through Cancún, Tulum, Bacalar, Kalakmul, and Palenque. Now, with the southeast railway’s right-of-way, it will include stations in Campeche, Valladolid, and Yucatán.

“As for the southeast train, it will include Palenque, Candelaria, Escárcega. We will open a branch line to Xpujil, very close to Kalakmul, with access to the archeological area, continuing to the Caribbean with stations in Bacalar, Tulum, and Cancún. There will also be a line from Escárcega to Campeche, Mérida, Valladolid, and Cancún,” he explained.

There will be a public investment of 7,000 million pesos a year, coming from the tourism tax fund. Furthermore, a call for proposals will be launched to seek an alliance with the private sector.
 

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“Our goal is to boost employment in local tourist areas because this is one of the country’s most neglected regions,” he said.

In company of Miguel Torruco, appointed as the next secretary of Tourism, López Obrador presented the architect Rogelio Jiménez Pons to be the next general director of the National Fund for Tourist Development (FONATUR), and Gabriela Cámara to be managing director of Tourism Promotion Board of Mexico (CPTM).

When asked about the recent statements of Gustavo de Hoyos, chairman of the Mexican Employers’ Confederation (COPARMEX), regarding the customs-free zone, López Obrador expressed: “With all due respect [to the confederation’s director] he should be celebrating the fact that the region will be declared customs-free; it will help a great deal of private companies and businesses. Along the 3,180-kilometer border with the United States, the VAT will be of 8%, and personal income taxes will only represent 20% of income.”

Regarding Mexico City’s new international airport (NAIM), López Obrador stated that he would meet with a team of engineers to discuss the technical details of NAIM’s feasibility.

Shortly after meeting with Javier Jiménez Espriú, appointed as the next Secretary of Communications and Transports, the President-elect that the project would be subject to the consideration of engineer associations.

He added that there would soon be an intervening consultation that could even be presented as a public survey. He asked the media to spread information on his consultation proposal.
 

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