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Mexico to spend $100bn on roads, rail and ports

Government outlines plans that include first high-speed rail links

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

The Mexican government announced plans on Monday to invest about $100bn in rail, road, telecom and port projects over the next five years, including Mexico's first high-speed rail links.

Among the projects are the modernisation or building of four airports, seven seaports and about 3,350 miles (5,410 km) of highways. Fibre optic networks and broadband internet access will also be strengthened, and the country's freight train service will also be upgraded, according to Associated Press.

"Mexico can be the great logistics platform for Latin America," Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said. "We have to create significant savings in the time and cost of transporting goods."

When announcing the plan, President Enrique Pena Nieto also emphasized the goal of reviving passenger trains in Mexico.

For more than a century, Mexico depended on railways to move goods and passengers, and rebels even fought much of the 1910-1917 Revolution from trains.

However, Mexico abandoned all regular passenger trains more than a decade ago because the service was of a poor quality and underused. Existing lines were given over to freight, considered the priority, and only a handful of short tourist train routes remain.

Pena Nieto said Monday that about 360 miles (583 kms) of high-speed rail links will be built, including links between Mexico City and the nearby cities of Toluca and Queretaro.

Another line will cross the Yucatan Peninsula. Though details have not been released, it is expected to link the Caribbean coast resort of Cancun with the colonial city of Merida, Yucatan.

"Nobody can doubt that better infrastructure translates into more competitiveness and productivity, which will ignite economic growth and social well-being," Pena Nieto said. "These are investments that will translate into jobs."

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Construction Week - Issue 754
Nov 23, 2019