Mayan Train Starts Countdown Despite OppositionBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 08/26/2020 - 17:15
Milenio reported that President López Obrador made time to show a video progress report on the Mayan Train project similar to the ones that have been delivered in other occasions for the Santa Lucia airport. In the video, which lasts a little over two and a half minutes and was later reposted on the Mayan Train Twitter account, FONATUR Director General Rogelio Jiménez Pons appears in front of train tracks under construction in the middle of the jungle wearing a branded hardhat.
The information he presents was previously available, such as the geographical location and length of each one of the train’s segments. Jiménez Pons reports that construction progress made so far includes the rehabilitation of 42 service stations for existing rail lines, the construction of warehouses and office space, the training of archeological salvage and rescue units, the preparation and cleaning of all land and property to be occupied by the project’ facilities and the engineering and planning of all necessary embankments in which existing rail lines will be renovated and new rail lines will be installed. Jiménez Pons also promised the video progress report will be the first of 157 weekly reports to be presented every Monday morning during the president’s daily morning press conference until the Mayan Train becomes operational. The implication of this promise is a commitment to finalizing the project so it can receive its first passengers in September 2023.
Despite the momentum the government might have hoped for with this presentation, opposition still stands. A report from El Economista details the latest letter sent directly to SEMARNAT and signed by a long list of NGOs, CSOs, law firms, research centers and political organizations pressuring the regulating entity not to approve or authorize the Mayan Train’s environmental impact report, which technically remains under revision and processing. The letter’s argument against the project is centered around the way in which the train’s pathway violates the sovereignty of protected natural areas that house species that are significantly vulnerable to extinction, such as the jaguar.