With the aim to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government and the private sector announced an Infrastructure Package featuring various projects in 2020, including the Mexico-Queretaro Train, originally designed by the Peña Nieto administration. Nevertheless, two years later, President López Obrador announced the next administration would have to carry out its construction.
Construction works were expected to start by Jun. 2021. The train aimed to connect Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Hidalgo and Queretaro with an estimated investment of US$2.6 billion. The project was inherited from the Enrique Peña Nieto administration, which envisioned a railway of 210km in length and the ability to improve transport for 25 million people living in the area.
In 2014, the then President Peña Nieto granted the contract to the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) but the tender was canceled after a press investigation revealed a possible conflict of interest when the president’s wife at the time, Angélica Rivera, purchased a house from Grupo Higa, a government contractor company owning shares in Teya, the local partner of CRCC.
The project has changed since it was first proposed. Firstly, the project was planned as a high-speed rail project, but in 2020 the government changed it for a medium-speed one to use the Right of Way permit that was already approved because it had less of an impact on the environment.
Earlier this year, TMSourcing announced its intention to link the Bajio Train project with the Mexico-Queretaro Train to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT). The company estimated a 12-station route between Mexico City and Guanajuato with a 40,000 passenger per day capacity, which could help bring new travelers to the recently inaugurated Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) and complement Mexico City’s Suburban Train. The initial investment required US$4 million, though US$2.5 billion is needed for the entire development.
President López Obrador explained that these projects will be carried out by the next administration because his administration does not have sufficient time left to conclude them. Other pending railway projects are Huasteco Train, which aims to connect Tampico with San Luis Potosi, and the Pacific Train, going from Jalisco to Baja California.
Of the 62 projects planned for the last two infrastructure packages launched by the federal government and the private sector, only two had been completed as of April 2022, mainly because of obstacles like budgetary adjustments, financing issues an construction modifications, among others. Francisco Cervantes, President, the Business Coordination Council (CEE) said a third infrastructure package is to be released after Mexico’s gubernatorial elections have concluded.