How has infrastructure fared during AMLO's first 100 days?

By
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Andrés Manuel López Obrador's (AMLO) first 100 days as Mexico's president have been filled with announcements - some positive, some controversial. He has also pursued significant measures regarding new projects, and incomplete ones he inherited from previous administrations.

On his 100-day anniversary on Monday, AMLO reviewed how projects he promised on the campaign trail have progressed so far.

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Maya train

The president said that the first tenders for the 1,525km rail line in southeast Mexico will be launched in April. Investments of 120bn to 150bn pesos (up to US$7.7bn) are needed to build the passenger and freight transport line. Construction will take around four years and the train will have capacity to transport up to 3mn passengers a year.

Tehuantepec isthmus trade corridor

Federal funding is guaranteed for expanding the ports of Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca, and Coatzacoalcos, in Veracruz, AMLO said. Funds have also been earmarked for the modernization of the region's freight railway, which links the country's Pacific and Gulf coasts.

Authorities are about to enter a consultation phase with the communities along the planned 230km trade corridor while preparing the final designs so that tenders can be launched.

The corridor will become a free economic zone, with reduced taxes and fuel prices to boost the creation of industrial parks in the area, AMLO said.

Mexico City three-airport system

AMLO emphasized that although the cancellation of the 285bn-peso international airport in Texcoco has taken "some time," work on the Santa Lucía military base in Tecámac, Mexico state, has progressed. Santa Lucía will form part of the new airport system that replaces the canceled Texcoco airport.

The president said that only the termination of the construction contracts for the mega airport is left to do. He confirmed the successful conclusion of the buy-back of up to US$1.8bn of the US$6bn in bonds that were issued to fund the airport.

"Even after taking into account the costs of canceling the airport, I am convinced and I can prove that it was the best decision. Due to the location [of the canceled airport] there was always going to be sinking, it was going to cost us a lot of money to provide maintenance at the airport," AMLO said.

Incomplete works

AMLO emphasized that the government prioritizes infrastructure maintenance and focuses on finishing incomplete projects that started under previous administrations.

He noted that around 78% of the 41.2bn-peso road maintenance budget has been tendered.

All the ministries have prepared inventories of works in progress and/or incomplete ones. They include hospitals, dams, aqueducts, irrigation canals, roads, schools, and train projects, among others.

AMLO said that based on those inventories, the government prioritized some works and prepared a multi-year funding program.

"We will not be able to complete many of those works this year or the next," he said.

Incomplete projects that require more funding than planned include the Mexico City-Toluca interurban passenger rail line and the third line of Guadalajara's light rail system.