Mayan Train Will Be Inaugurated on Time: López ObradorBy Paloma Duran | Mon, 09/05/2022 - 09:35
During his Fourth Government Conference, President López Obrador assured that the Mayan Train will be inaugurated next year despite its construction challenges and opposition to the project. However, media and experts reported that none of the train’s five sections have reached 50 percent of construction progress, meaning the project might require more time.
López Obrador assured that the remaining 1,554km of the Mayan Train’s track will be finished on time and that 42 trains with 259 wagons will arrive in July 2023, so the project is expected to be inaugurated in 2023. “Even with several obstacles, we are going to fulfill the commitment to inaugurate the most anticipated project, the Mayan Train, in December 2023.''
However, a document sent to the Chamber of Deputies emphasizes that as of June 30, the five sections are behind the expected schedule. The section from Escárcega to Calkiní has a progress of 45.4 percent, the section from Palenque to Escárcega 39.7 percent, the section from Calkiní to Izamal 37 percent, the section from Izamal to Cancún 34 percent and the section from Playa del Carmen North to Tulum North 2.1 percent. In addition, the government only reached 57 percent progress in the relocation of families living where the Mayan Train will pass.
Regarding the opposition to the Mayan Train, several civil organizations have requested precautionary measures since the railway crosses underground rivers and caves, which could compromise the flora and fauna of the region. Recently, Moce Yax Cuxtal, Gema de Mayab, Red de Formadores Socioambientales, Sélvame del Tren Cenotes Urbanos and Jaguar Life Center asked the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to open a file to investigate the construction of the Mayan Train. According to the NGOs, the Mayan Train construction violates Chapter 24 of the USMCA treaty, which has been valid since July 2020 and establishes that members must strictly apply environmental law.
However, the petition was rejected after a judge revoked an injunction against the project, enabling the train’s development to continue. According to CEC, the petition does not meet the requirements to open a file, but it stated that NGOs can rewrite the petition and register it again before October 2022. Although the organism does not have the authority to apply sanctions, it can help build a legal case if a claim is well-founded.