Mexicans will decide the future of Mexico's New International Airport

In September 2014, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the construction of the NAIM in Texcoco
Mexicans will decide the future of Mexico's New International Airport
AMLO has already voted - Photo: Luis Cortés/EL UNIVERSAL
25/10/2018
13:25
Newsroom
Mexico City
Sara Cantera, Carina García
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The public consultation to decide if the construction of Mexico's New International Airport (NAIM) continues in Texcoco or if they will rehabilitate and modernize the two terminals in the Mexico City and Toluca airports, as well as the Santa Lucía military base.

Before the saturation of Mexico City's International Airport (AICM) was announced in 2014, the government had proposed the construction of a bigger new international airport.

In September 2014, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the construction of the NAIM in Texcoco, in federal land, where they didn't need to expropriate any land.

The new terminal could transport 70 million passengers during its first stage, which includes three runways, twice as many as what the AICM transports; and up to 120 million when its six runways operate.

The cost of the project was estimated to be of MXN $169,000 million nevertheless, during 2018, it increased to MXN $285,000 million.

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Since the beginning of his presidential campaign, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that the project was too expensive and a monument to corruption. He denounced the way in which the contracts had been assigned and claimed that when he became President, he would cancel its construction.

After the election, he considered the possibility of granting its concession, but he always proposed the option of building an alternate airport in the Santa Lucía military base.

The Communications and Transport Ministry (SCT) defended the Texcoco project based on several studies, which didn't rule out the possibility of operating Santa Lucía and the AICM both, but rather detailed that there would be an intersection area with San Mateo, which would force the operators to separate the planes and that wouldn't solve the saturation issue.

Public Consultation

To decide if the construction of the NAIM in Texcoco will continue or if they will refurbish Santa Lucía, the President-elect called for a public consultation, from October 25 to 28, in 538 municipalities. It is estimated that one million people will vote.

There will be voting stations in 16 municipalities in Mexico City, and in all the municipalities in Tabasco, in 67 municipalities in Chiapas, and 99 in Veracruz, where 80% of voters reside, according to the incoming administration.

The staff at the polling station will use a mobile app to save the voters' information so they can't vote more than once. The Rosenblueth Foundation, led by Enrique Calderón Alzati, organized the consultation, along with 21 academics and 15 civic groups. The results will be delivered to López Obrador on October 28.

Nevertheless, yesterday, the President of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Juan Pablo Castañon, said that technical decisions, like the new airport, shouldn't be decided by the citizens.

The main detractors of the Texcoco project are López Obrador and his cabinet, Morena, and communities who live near the new airport.

The future Communications and Transport Minister, Javier Jiménez Espriú, said that NavBlue, a European company, supports Santa Lucía's viability.

 

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