Suburban Train’s Section to AIFA Delayed by Over 120 DaysBy Fernando Mares | Tue, 07/05/2022 - 15:46
During the first inspection of the expansion works to Line 1 of the Suburban Train, which aims to connect the train to Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), the Federal Superior Auditor (ASF) discovered possible mishandling of resources and deficient planning by the ministry in charge of the development, which has caused cost hikes and delays of over 120 days.
ASF stated the work for Line 1’s Lecheria-Jaltocan-AIFA connection, developed by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT), reported excess payments of over US$3 million, which correspond to the contract signed between SICT and the company Contrucciones y Maquinaria in December 2021 for the construction of a cargo operation area. According to ASF, SICT authorized payments for railroad ties and railway materials, which included the transportation and installation. Nonetheless, these materials were not present at the construction site .
SICT declared that the material is stored at a contractor’s storage location and is available to transport to the work site. The material has not been moved because there is no space for it at the construction site. The ministry added it needs to protect its goods from ejidatarios who oppose the project.
In addition, ASF reported that a company participating in the project hired a topographer involved in another contract of the same project, which according to legislation should have been a motive for the specialist’s ineligibility to be hired.
Right of Ways represent another challenge for SICT. According to ASF, SICT does not have and did not submit the Right of Way for the cargo operation area. “This has caused, to date, delays for 120 days in the execution of works. This demonstrates the inadequate planning of the project,” ASF stated.
SICT reported to ASF that it already held the rights to 60 percent of the area it required for the works. For the remaining 40 percent, SICT reported it had started a property expropriation process in September 2021 since the landholders could not prove their ownership.
The project also faces the opposition of further inhabitants of the Teyahualco community, located in the Tultepec municipality. Here, works have been stopped by inhabitants who oppose being evicted from their homes, located just 15m from the railway. According to locals, the project divides the municipality, as some say the project spoils their way of life.
The enlargement of the Suburban Train’s Line 1 aims to reduce transportation times and costs for those traveling to AIFA. The upgraded line will have an extension of 23km and will cross the Tultitlan, Nextlalpan, Tultepec, Zumpango and Tecamac municipalities. It consists of four stations and a terminal at the airport. Overall, the project will have four vehicular overpasses, two railway viaducts, a new railway bridge with four rails and involve the restoration of an already existing railway bridge.