Mexican president protects expensive pet projects

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador concluded Monday at reviews of some of his pet infrastructure projects according to the country equivalent to the executive office and conference budget.

The office said López Obrador had underestimated billions of dollars at the cost of postponing a project he planned to build Mexico City’s new airport on an old lake bed.

The audit office said the cost of canceling construction contracts and repaying bonds with the project could reach $ 14.5 billion, compared to López Obrador ‘s estimate of $ 4.5 billion.

López Obrador said on Monday that the investigation “adds to the reality. ”

“Their data is wrong, I have other facts,” said López Obrador.

Instead of continuing with the partially built airport on the east bank of Texcoco, on which at least $ 2 billion has been spent, the president decided to modernize and extending the military airfield at Santa Lucia Airport further north of the capital.

While the new project is expected to cost $ 4.1 billion, López Obrador had said it represented cost savings even considering losses from the cancellation of Texcoco airport.

López Obrador says the decommissioned airport could have cost as much as $ 15 billion when completed, and would have been flooded and sunk due to the soil full of water.

Opposition Convener Verónica Juárez Piña of the remaining Democratic Revolutionary Party said “Instead of attacking the ASF (investigative office), the irregularities, the rubbish should and the lack of transparency in the use of government money to clean up almost all areas of its administration, especially for its mega-projects. “

The president has ordered ambitious construction projects such as the new Gulf shore furnace and a $ 6.8 billion project to build a rail line that would run about 950 miles (about 1,500 kilometers) in a rough curve around the Yucatan peninsula. , linking beach towns to ruined Mayan sites.

Critics say many of these projects did not have feasibility studies or appropriate environmental impacts, and could be white elephants.

The inspection report presented over the weekend also included harsh criticism of the Maya train project, which is led by the government’s Fonatur tourism group and will be run by the army once that it is ready in several years.

The study found that Fonatur did not show “that they had an operational project or financial model that would name the funding plan” for the train.

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