Conflicting Reports on Future of Mayan TrainBy Pedro Alcalá | Mon, 05/18/2020 - 18:45
During today’s daily morning press conference, President López Obrador lent the stage to FONATUR Director Rogelio Jiménez Pons, who delivered a video presentation that covered recent advances on the Mayan Train project (the video was also tweeted out on the project’s twitter account). The first section of the video covered previously reported information, including the bidding round process for the first three segments of the train. New information was revealed, however, when the video moved on to the train’s fourth segment. This fourth segment, considered to be one of the train’s longest and most important, will run 257km and connect the city of Izamal, Yucatan with the train’s main tourism hub: the city of Cancun, Quintana Roo. It is expected to have four stops in the Yucatan towns of Kantunil, Chichen Itza, Valladolid and El Tintal-Holbox. Crucially, the video claimed that the company in charge of the construction of this segment “is expected to be” the owner of the concession for the Merida-Cancun highway, which is the Mexican construction giant and infrastructure developer ICA. This has led to reports such as one in El Universal that supposedly confirms that the contract has definitely been adjudicated to ICA without so much as a contracting process, let alone a bidding round similar to the ones through which the construction of the previous segments of the train were contracted.
The piece by El Universal, however, contains no confirmation from anybody within ICA. Moreover, there is no press release from FONATUR confirming or in any way commenting on this piece of information, which is unusual given the degree of detail with which that institution has released information regarding the previous segment’s contracting processes. The rest of the video avoids concrete scheduling and investment information with the exception of what was further commented by Jiménez Pons and the president: almost US$32 million in right of way payments have been made by the government after realizing that the project was impossible to execute with the available paperwork.