Mexico voids high speed train tender award

Friday, November 7, 2014

Only days after awarding the construction of the Mexico City-Querétaro high speed passenger train project, the Mexican government voided the process and announced a new tender amid local media concerns over conflicts of interest.

On November 3, transport ministry SCT awarded the 50.8bn-peso (US$3.75bn) project to the only group that submitted a bid, an eight-party consortium led by Mexican companies Constructora y Edificadora Gia+A and Promotora y Desarrolladora Mexicana, and China Railway Construction Corporation.

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Some 16 companies that had previously expressed interest in the project – including foreign and local heavyweights Bombardier, Siemens, CAF, Abengoa and ICA – did not submit bids.

After the project was awarded, the media raised questions about certain companies in the bidding group. One firm was linked to former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and others obtained infrastructure contracts in Mexico state when President Enrique Peña Nieto was governor.

"President Enrique Peña Nieto decided to cancel the contract for the México City-Querétaro high speed train," SCT said in a statement.

"With the goal of providing more time and facilitating the involvement of a higher number of train manufacturers, as well as strengthen absolute clarity, legitimacy and transparency, the federal executive [branch] determined that a new tender process be called."

The high speed train will cover 210km between the Buenavista station in Mexico City and downtown Querétaro city, reaching speeds of up to 300km/hour.

Some 23,000 passengers are expected to use the train each day once operations start in the second half of 2017.