Suburban Train Expansion Received Only 8 Percent of Budget
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Suburban Train Expansion Received Only 8 Percent of Budget

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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 10/04/2022 - 14:45

It has been almost a year since the beginning of the construction of the Suburban Train’s extension to the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA). In this context, leaked documents suggest that the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) is concerned about the amount of resources the project has received since the ministry considers this to be less than expected. 

The so-called hacktivist group Guacamaya revealed a series of emails between SICT and the Armed forces (SEDENA), where SICT recognized that Ferrocarriles Suburbanos, the company that operates the railway concession, could only access eight percent of its budget until August 2022. In communications between General Gustavo Vallejo, the Manager of works for the construction of AIFA, and Manuel Gómez, Director General for Railway and Multimodal Development, SICT, Gómez said that it is uncertain when the project could receive more resources. 

The federal government estimated that the project would require over US$1.2 billion under a mixed investment plan with Ferrocarriles Suburbanos, conformed by CAF, Omnitren and the National Fund for Infrastructure (FONADIN). Under this scheme, Ferrocarriles Suburbanos would contribute with over US$758 million, of which 49 percent would be from FONADIN, 43 percent from CAF and the remaining 8 percent would be from Omnitren. According to the leaked conversations, the developer has only utilized US$62.4 million, the amount includes taxes, fees and general expenses. In addition, Gómez said that there are other US$100 million more that are to be authorized. “At this time, it is uncertain when we will be able to use the main credit since it is under the structuring phase,” Gómez added. 

According to SICT, Ferrocarriles Suburbanos will develop the project using these resources, relocating the cargo railroad tracks as well as 15km of railroads. In addition, the company must construct three viaducts and two railway bridges, adapt tracks in Buenavista station and refurbish workshops and railway subsystems along 23km, equipping six stations and their Modal Transfer Stations (CETRAMs). The company must also set up the AIFA terminal station and install the line’s energy system. 

In the same vein, SICT will acquire 10 trains with five wagons with a capacity to transport 700 passengers. It will also construct nine overpasses for cars, 10 pedestrian crossing points and a cargo operation area, as well as manage the modal transfer areas in each station. However, SICT says that the project’s progress is proportional to the amount of resources authorities inject. 

According to the original plan, the project would be inaugurated in September 2023. Nonetheless, SICT is worried that it cannot finish it on time because of the lack of resources available. 

Photo by:   Sofree

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