Mexico's congress approves spending bill

Friday, November 10, 2017

After debating for more than 10 hours, Mexico's lower house approved the federal government's 2018 spending budget, making various amendments to the draft the finance ministry (SHCP) submitted in September.

With the amendments, the federal transport ministry's (SCT) budget will now amount to 84.5bn pesos, more than the 77.3bn proposed by the finance ministry (SHCP). SCT's 2017 budget was 84.6bn pesos.

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Some 6.6bn pesos were reallocated to the road infrastructure and rural roads sector, while the budget earmarked for strategic infrastructure projects will amount to 65.8bn. These projects include road maintenance initiatives (35bn pesos), the international airport currently built for Mexico City (9bn pesos), the Mexico City-Toluca interurban passenger rail line (13bn pesos), and the construction of Guadalajara's third light rail line (5bn pesos).

Lawmakers reallocated additional 1.25bn pesos to Mexico City's capital fund, double the amount the SHCP earmarked initially. The fund, created to compensate Mexico City for costs related to its function as the capital, will now have 2.5bn pesos. A portion of these funds will be used to repair the local road and water infrastructure that was damaged during the September 19 earthquake, as well as new works.

Regarding the country's water sector, congress reallocated an additional 475mn pesos for the construction of the Santa María, Milpillas and Pilares dams, which will be built in Sinaloa, Zacatecas, and Sonora states, respectively. None of these projects had been contemplated in the SHCP's budget proposal.

Additionally, 8.1bn pesos were earmarked for some of the country's major waterworks, including 5bn pesos for the construction of the Emisor Oriente drainage tunnel, and 1.53bn for Jalisco's El Zapotillo dam.

The budget bill has been sent to the president for publication in the country's official gazette.